Amazon has unveiled a slew of devices and an replace to its widespread voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with extra generative AI options to higher compete with different tech firms who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots.
Throughout an indication on the firm’s second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, Amazon’s gadgets chief Dave Limp mentioned the most recent language mannequin will permit shoppers to have extra human-like conversations with a “smarter and more conversational” Alexa.
The corporate confirmed completely different interactions by a pre-recorded video and a reside demo the place Alexa responds to prompts to put in writing a poem, give concepts for a date evening and supply a breakdown of a soccer recreation. Limp additionally demonstrated a functionality the place the voice assistant can prep a text message, although his trade with Alexa included some awkward pauses the place he needed to repeat some prompts twice earlier than getting a solution.
The corporate says its additionally engaged on a “speech-to-speech” mannequin that may, for instance, permit Alexa to exhibit human-like attributes, equivalent to laughter and phrases like “uh-huh” throughout conversations.
Amazon holds the annual gadget occasion to exhibit new gadgets in entrance of journalists and business insiders earlier than they formally hit the market. Amongst different issues, the tech large additionally showcased a fee-based emergency service for Alexa that permits customers to name for assist with out utilizing the cellphone, new Echo good audio system in addition to Amazon Hearth tablets for teenagers.
In August, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy introduced Limp would retire after virtually 14 years with the corporate, the place he is overseen improvements in Kindle readers, Amazon’s Hearth TV and Echo gadgets. Though the gadgets unit has rolled out numerous devices over time, not all of them have caught on. Assume the Alexa-enabled microwave or the roaming Astro robotic, which Amazon unveiled in 2021 at an introductory value of $1,000 however has had a restricted rollout.
The gadgets unit was hit by Amazon’s company-wide layoffs a number of months in the past. The corporate’s hasn’t introduced Limp’s alternative.
Amazon is a pacesetter within the U.S. good speaker market, commanding almost 64 million month-to-month customers of its Echo gadgets, based on Insider Intelligence. However the market analysis firm forecasts that the gadgets will lose some market share within the subsequent few years because the variety of good audio system continues to develop. Customers have additionally change into extra possible to make use of their smartphones to entry voice assistants as a substitute of good audio system.
For years, Amazon has been looking for to drive shopper purchases from its Echo gadgets, a dream that hasn’t been absolutely realized.
Amazon mentioned final yr 50% of Alexa prospects used their device to buy. Limp famous on Wednesday that extra prospects have been utilizing Alexa to buy year-over-year. In response to Adobe Analytics, shoppers sometimes use their smart speakers to play music, examine the climate and set alarms and reminders.
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Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and extra conversational’ Alexa amid AI race amongst tech firms (2023, September 20)
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