Alexa: A Pandora’s Box of Risks

Case Solution

Russell Walker
Kellogg School of Management ()

Launched in 2014, Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers led the rapid adoption of the category in the home and enabled artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistants to penetrate the everyday lives of millions of people. By 2019, Alexa, the virtual brain behind Amazon’s smart speakers, could play music, create reminders, get weather reports, control lights and other appliances, shop, and do much more in response to voice commands. Amazon had developed important new features for Alexa, developed a complete ecosystem, expanded Alexa’s user base to more than 100 million users, and made significant progress in monetizing its digital voice assistant. However, the advancement of Alexa also presented new challenges for Amazon, its Alexa-enabled customers, and society at large. Amazon needed to recognize and address these challenges to promote continued consumer adoption and prevent adverse government or regulatory action.

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