When your smart assistant gets a command wrong for the third time in a row, it can be easy to wonder what on Earth the developers were thinking. Fortunately, you’re not alone; even Jeff Bezos has had his fair share of assistant-related rage when he once told an Amazon Alexa to “shoot yourself in the head.”
What Sparked Jeff Bezos’ Ire Towards Alexa?
As reported on Business Insider, the harsh words from Amazon’s CEO came during the development of Alexa and were later documented in the book “Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire“. Back then, the project was called “Doppler” and was a shadow of what Alexa is today.
In fact, it was so much of a shadow that everyone in Amazon believed it would never take off. A manager kept track of every question he asked and the answers he got back and claimed that it “hardly ever” responded as he wanted.
Jeff Bezos wasn’t happy, either. After the device failed to understand him, he told it to “shoot yourself in the head.” Afterward, the engineers went over the interactions to see how Doppler could be improved. After they spotted Jeff’s nasty comment, they thought the project was doomed to failure.
Fortunately, the engineers managed to pull Doppler back from the brink and improved its listening comprehension. Doppler eventually became the Alexa that we know and love today.
A Close Call for Amazon Alexa
It’s hard to imagine Amazon without its famous personal assistant Alexa, but that future came dangerously close to coming true. The next time Alexa doesn’t understand you, don’t get too mad; even Jeff Bezos himself once gave the digital assistant a piece of his mind.
These days, Alexa is much better at recognizing what you say. In fact, you can now set Alexa to recognize different family member’s voices for a truly personalized experience.
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