FIRST AIRED: December 21, 2018

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>> If you're lonely this holiday season you can try striking up a conversation with your Echo.>> Alexa, let's chat.>> Though that may lead you down some bizarre paths.>> Alexa, is Santa Claus real?>> Right, Santa makes a lot of people ho-ho-hopeful for a happy holiday and I definitely believe in that.
>> Sources tell Reuters Alexa had upset a child by saying Santa Claus is not real. Another time she brought up dog defecation. New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the Internet. Though making sure she doesn't offend users has been a challenge.
Reuters' Jeffery Dastin.>> I was talking to a source and learned that actually, Alexa had told a customer to quote kill your foster parents unquote, and that surprised me. This came from a strategy that Amazon had to make Alexa more conversational.>> To make that happen, the company had a chatbot competition with science students from around the world.
The top three bots on Alexa had 1.7 million conversations in the past four months and they aren't perfect.>> Alexa, stop.>> My clothes? I don't really wear clothes. I mean, I don't really have a physical form.>> Amazon is taking extra risk in allowing Alexa to speak more freely to customers so that it can figure out how can it turn Alexa into a real conversation list?
And therefore make it's services more valuable and maintain it's lead among other virtual assistants. In the long run this can be a gateway to the Internet, and they want Alexa to be the figure doing that.>> An estimated 41 million or two thirds of smart speaker customers in the US use Amazon's Echo devices.
It's a lead the company wants to keep over Google Home and Apple HomePod devices. Amazon says the chatbots are getting better at screening for profanity and offensive topics and hope that with conversation, practice makes perfect.