Amazon Alexa will now tell you how many hours you have to work to afford a house, a car, or a dream vacation

  • Amazon and Ally Bank have announced a new personal finance feature for Alexa-enabled products.
  • Ally Bank customers can now ask their Amazon Alexa device to calculate how many hours they need to work to afford a purchase.
  • It's an easy way to decide whether a purchase is worth the amount of time it takes to earn.

Amazon's Alexa technology is getting smarter by the day.

Ally Bank customers can now ask their Amazon Alexa-enabled device to calculate how many working hours it will take to afford a purchase, the bank announced this week.

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Here's the typical exchange:

User: "Alexa, open Ally and tell me how much a $1,000 bike will cost in CurrenSee?"

Alexa: "Okay. How much do you make in a year?"

User: "$75,000."

Alexa: "Thanks. How many hours do you work in a week?"

User: "40 hours."

Alexa: "Okay a $1,000 bike will cost you 27.73 hours of work."

Identifying the number of work hours it takes to afford a purchase, whether a $100 pair of shoes or a $3,000 vacation, is an easy strategy for deciding whether an item or experience is worth buying.

The new feature, called CurrenSee, is the latest personal finance capability in a series of skills offered by Ally Bank. On Amazon Echo products, Ally customers can already access everyday banking tasks, like monitoring account balances and recent transactions and deposits, transferring money, and checking current interest rates.

RELATED: 7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon

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7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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Other banks have introduced similar capabilities, such as "Ask UBS," which allows customers to ask their Alexa-enabled device questions such as, "How is the US economy doing?"

Ally Bank was rated the best bank on the internet and the best bank for millennials in 2017 by Kiplinger, a personal finance and business forecasting resource.

Amazon Alexa-enabled devices that feature Ally's new skill include the Echo Dot, which retails for $50, and the Echo, which starts at $100.

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