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Parenting in the age of Alexa and her ilk

09 August 2018

Let's face it, all virtual assistants can find themselves stumped every now and then. Editor Bret Kinsella said he first encountered the feature on Monday when Alexa asked if he wanted to enable it.

Not one to leave loose ends untied is Amazon, which is rolling out a feature called Answer Update on Alexa devices this week, spotted by Voicebox.

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"Answer Update" needs to be enabled by the user, who will be prompted to turn it on after asking Alexa a question that she can not answer immediately.

This is an optional feature that is not enabled by default. Usually, when Alexa doesn't know the answer to a question, it replies with statements such as "I don't know, but I am always learning". I was able to opt in to the feature with an Amazon Echo Spot here at the office by asking Alexa to "turn on Answer Update". To enable it, say "Alexa, enable answer updates".

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"Once Answer Updates is turned on, each time you ask Alexa a factual/informational question and she doesn't know the answer, she will go find it and send you a notification on the Echo device when she has it", Amazon explained. As Alexa is ever improving and evolving with its environment, the feature is a reminder of Amazon's efforts at expanding the knowledge graph of the digital assistant. Hopefully, this kink will be worked out in the coming weeks, as Amazon continues testing the feature.

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Parenting in the age of Alexa and her ilk