Alexa: A Pandora's Box of Risks
Launched in 2014, Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers led the category's rapid adoption by households and enabled the penetration of artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistants into the everyday lives of millions of people. By 2019, Alexa the virtual brains behind Amazon's smart speakers was able to play music, create reminders, get weather reports, control lights and other home appliances, shop, and do much more in response to voice commands. Amazon had developed significant new capabilities for Alexa, developed an entire ecosysgtem around it, expanded Alexa's user base to more than 100 million users, and made significant progress in monetizing its digital voice assistant. However, Alexa's progress also created new challenges for Amazon, its Alexa-enabled customers, and society at large. Amazon needed to identify and address these challenges in order to encourage continued consumer acceptance and preclude detrimental government or regulatory action.