Amazon job advert reveals plans to create ‘science fiction’ gadgets of the future in secretive British research base

An official picture of the Amazon drone, which was completed its first delivery

An official picture of the Amazon drone, which was completed its first delivery

It’s where the famous Amazon delivery drones were designed, created and tested late last year.

It’s also home to Alexa, the voice assistant which powers the £149 Echo and Echo dot gadgets.

The Echo can be used to order items and control music and home settings and even order taxis.


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Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is a hands free speaker with AI-powered virtual assistant Alexa

Amazon revealed it’s looking for people who can boost the brainpower of Alexa, the voice-activated assistant, who is “getting smarter every day”.

This involves teaching Amazon products how to learn more about its customers, so it can respond to them as if they were human.

But with this great power, comes great responsibility.

Amazon’s machine learning boss (and founder of Amazon Research Cambridge) Professor Neil Lawrence, yesterday discussed the ethics of using our voices to train computers.

He commented on the importance of regulations at the publication of the Royal Society’s report into computers which can “learn” from humans.

Top scientists, including Professor Lawrence, have formed a working group and have spent 18 months analysing the benefits and pitfalls of this artificial intelligence.

They recommend that those studying and working with voice recognition, or machine learning, should undertake an ethics course.

But when quizzed on whether new starters would be offered specific ethics training by the Sun, Professor Lawrence said that those in control of Amazon’s machines were only trained in “information security”.

Several adverts with similar job descriptions, posted this week, write: “We’ve solved many complex problems to get to where we are today, but there are still plenty of challenges ahead of us, and Alexa is getting smarter every day.

“The problems we solve in the Alexa Knowledge team in Cambridge help Alexa get smarter by understanding the different ways people talk, by learning more and more facts about the world, by improving her common sense reasoning and by responding in the most natural way possible in multiple languages.”