While ChatGPT imposes itself in the public space, it almost makes us forget its ancestors which are voice assistants. However, it seems natural that generative AIs leave the domains of text and image to invest our homes. This is precisely Amazon’s strategy, which wants to boost Alexa by betting on AI in the service of everyday life and leisure.
Since the success of ChatGPT, the generative AI wars have been raging. If Google, Microsoft and Meta are the best known belligerents, the giant Amazon is also in the race. Many are still unaware of it, but this merchant empire is not limited to online sales. It is also one of the market leaders in cloud computing with Amazon Web Service (AWS).
In addition, it turns out to be the world champion in R&D spending with a budget representing 11% of its turnover, or 42.7 billion dollars, 15 billion more than Alphabet! The general public is already familiar with one of the creations of Amazon R&D, the voice assistant Alexa.
Generative AI is already at Amazon
From these same labs recently came out Bedrock, a suite of tools based on generative AI for its AWS customers. Amazon does not intend to stop there and according to internal documents consulted by Business Insider, the commerce giant is preparing to exploit these technologies to make Alexa much smarter and above all relevant.
Information confirmed by a spokesperson for Amazon and whose promises are very attractive. Thus, Alexa Tacher Model, an artificial intelligence base capable of learning, is at the heart of Amazon AIs. It combines with several linguistic models, also called Grand Language Models (LLMs), which learn to interpret our written and spoken requests. Tools that are all the product of Amazon labs. For the American, it is a question of adapting all these technologies for vocal interaction by analyzing our past uses, the context and the lexical field used.
Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, because if Alexa is a real hit with over 100 million units sold worldwide. The subsidiary experienced difficulties which led to layoffs and a cost reduction policy. A situation that AI is likely to change if the results live up to the promises.
Smarter Alexa with AI
Two major trends are assumed by Amazon. First, sharpen the intelligence of Alexa in the field of digital entertainment; second, to make storytelling applications more interactive. The documents consulted give several examples of typical cases such as the one below:
- User: Alexa, find me HBO or Netflix shows that show where the rich go on vacation?
- Alexa: I suggest ” The White Lotus”, an HBO series that takes place in a luxury hotel in Hawaii and follows the vacation experiences of wealthy and privileged guests. Is this what you are looking for?
- User: Yes, that’s it! Who’s in the cast?
- Alexa: Here’s the cast of ” The White Lotuswith Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza, Theo James and more.
FireTV users will see a series details page “The White Lotusand even a link to a free trial of HBO Max.
- User: What is the HBO subscription after the free trial?
- Alexa: HBO Max subscription is $15.99 per month after 7-day free trial. I can sign up now and you can start watching. Do you want to subscribe?
- User: Yes.
- Alexa: Alright! You subscribe to HBO Max through Prime Video. I will alert you one day before the end of the free trial expires. Reading in progress,The White Lotusepisode
1, Season 1.
Another example of interaction: if a user asks about the number of wolves in the Alps after watching a documentary about these animals. Alexa could give the answer and a podcast recommendation on the reintroduction of wolves in France. In addition, it will be possible to ask him “What to watch tonightand Alexa will use your viewing history to make recommendations. Which you can refine by asking for less romantic or Oscar-winning films.
A detail-oriented storyteller
The other axis studied is the functionality of narration which mainly targets the family audience. Amazon describes an Alexa capable of imagining stories on demand. After a child asks him for a story with a cat and the Moon, the assistant creates the story “Mittensthe first cat to go to the Moon.
Amazon plans to go much further. If the Alexa device has a camera, the voice assistant will take the environment into account. So if a child asks for a story with a cat and the Moon, while playing with an Olaf toy. The Echo Show will be able to identify the toy, the character and integrate it into the story. Always according toBusiness Insiderinternal documents mention partnerships with Disney, Lego and others.
All these examples tend towards a voice assistant model offering more natural and fluid interactions. According to the documents consulted, Amazon’s ambition is simple: the user must have the impression that “Alexa thinks she’s getting information from a database instead“.
Associated with connected objects supported by Alexa, including, recently, Matter over Thread products, we have a tool that could really simplify everyday life. However, by attacking leisure and the home, Amazon cannot afford to see its new Alexa make misinterpretations. Which perhaps explains why he does not give even an approximate launch date.
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