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Amazon makes Alexa more conversational with generative AI

Echo owners will be able to try out the new capabilities through a free preview.

Published onSeptember 20, 2023

Amazon Echo Dot Alexa speaker with light ring turned on stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Amazon announced that it has enhanced Alexa with generative AI.
  • Alexa will now be more conversational and expressive when you talk to it.
  • Users will be able to try out these capabilities through a free preview.

With generative AI dominating the mind space of the tech industry, it’s no surprise that Amazon has also been working on the technology. Amazon will use its AI to help further make Alexa more conversational and improve its responses.

During Amazon’s Devices and Services event, SVP of devices and services at Amazon, Dave Limp, dove into Amazon’s efforts with its generative AI model. Limp explained that the AI has been optimized for voice, and it would be used to improve experiences across Echo devices.

Our latest model has been specifically optimized for voice and the things we know our customers love—like having access to real-time information, efficiently controlling their smart home, and getting the most out of their home entertainment.

The new model is said to power more conversational experiences. These experiences will reportedly take a variety of factors into account such as body language, eye contact, and gestures. This will interact with APIs to enable more smart home capabilities and give Alexa a more opinionated personality when giving Alexa commands.

In a demonstration, Limp spoke with Alexa about his favorite college football team.  Limp asked Alexa, “What’s your favorite sports team?” The virtual assistant was able to respond with, “Dave, I’m from Seattle, so my favorite team is the Seahawks. 12th man for life!” Alexa was able to follow that up with Seahawks stats and game times.

“The capabilities … deliver unique experiences based on the preferences that you’ve shared, the services that you’ve interacted with and the information about the environment in and around your home,” Limp said. “This [new model] will allow you to surface personal reminders. For example, it can help you with recently-played music, or even come up with recipe recommendations based on your grocery purchases.”

In addition to these capabilities, Amazon’s generative AI will allow Alexa to adjust its tone and emotion based on context. It will be able to express things like excitement, affirmation, laughter, and surprise. Alexa will also be able to take into account your natural pauses and hesitation to allow for a more natural conversation.

On top of all of that, you won’t have to say “Alexa” to interact with the virtual assistant anymore. Amazon is giving the assistant an optional capability that allows those enrolled in Visual ID to start a conversation by facing the screen.

While the update is not available yet, it’s expected to roll out early 2024, users can try out the new capabilities through a free preview. It will be available on all Echo devices from 2014 and newer.

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