Amazon is planning to upgrade its Alexa voice assistant with advanced features similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
According to an internal memo obtained by Business Insider, the company aims to make Alexa more intelligent and responsive, with users feeling as though the device is “thinking” instead of simply retrieving information from a database.
This comes after Amazon laid off just under 2,000 of its employees from the Alexa and Devices unit last year.
An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is planning to develop a new AI technology to power the device, called the Alexa Teacher Model, which is a generative AI that will use Large Language Models (LLMs) to provide more personalized, accurate and proactive responses to user queries.
“We’re also building new models that are much larger and much more generalized and capable, which will take what already is the world’s best personal assistant and accelerate our path to being even more proactive and conversational,” the spokesperson told the publication.
The LLMs would essentially transform the way Alexa understands and processes complex requests, and provide better search results across video and audio. In a shared example, Amazon said that users would be able to get more robust search results even when they ask vague queries. “If the user asked Alexa for a show similar to Netflix’s Emily in Paris but less focused on fashion, it would suggest Prime Video’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and for Echo models with screens, it can include a visual map of what makes it a good recommendation.”
When questioned about one of the recommended shows, Alexa will share a one-line summary. However, Amazon devices with a display will start playing the show’s trailer.
In addition, Alexa would also be able to provide personalized news highlights and answer open questions by retrieving related news and information. For kids, Alexa will gain a new storytelling feature. In the shared example, Alexa is able to create a bedtime story about “Mittens, the first cat to ever go to the moon” after an 8-year-old user asks Alexa for a story about a “cat and a moon.” Further, if the Echo device that the kid is using comes equipped with a camera, it can detect if the kid is holding onto a recognizable toy. It will then try to incorporate the toy’s character into the story.
Amazon hopes the improved Alexa voice assistant will boost revenue opportunities from its enormous user base. During last week’s earnings call, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy revealed that the company has sold over 100 million Alexa-powered devices globally. By incorporating advanced AI technology, the company aims to become the world’s best personal assistant, a spot that it once claimed, and accelerate its path to becoming a more conversational and personalized assistant.
Source: Business Insider