Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Amazon’s Alexa will soon start guessing your next request

8 hours 8 hours
Melba Vasquez | 14 November, 2020, 02:00

This Alexa capability has already been made available by Amazon to users in the US.

Amazon has launched a new Alexa skill that will help predict customers latent goals - goals that are implicit in customer requests but not directly expressed - when they talk to Alexa about tasks. For example, if you ask "How long does it take to steep tea?", Alexa can respond "Five minutes is a good place to start", and add a question to it like, "Would you like me to set a timer for five minutes?" Google Assistant is still shopping for you, but Alexa has become much smarter.

More than one in five United Kingdom households use smart speakers such as Amazon's Alexa but also including Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google Assistant, according to data published by marketing firm Strategy Analytics. For example, the model may have found that customers who ask how long to steep their tea frequently keep asking Alexa to set a timer for that amount of time. The idea is also to ensure that when Alexa offers these suggestions, they don't feel disruptive, notes the blog post.

Amazon Explained that it uses a deep learning-based trigger model that considers factors including the text of the customer's current session with Alexa and whether the customer has engaged with Alexa's multi-skill suggestions in the past.

Obviously, not all conversations come with a latent goal; asking Alexa for "recipes for chicken" does not require a follow up to play chicken sounds (as one initial prototype incorrectly assumed).

The Amazon Alexa digital assistant is now running on Amazon's hardware instead of Nvidia-designed chips, as per reports.

Alexa will continue to learn user behavior and further refine its forecasts. It will also monitor whether or not the recommended skills are helping, and it will delete the underperforming experiences.

Inferentia chips are now also being adopted for Rekognition, though less detail was provided about that implementation. The new chips are the result of Amazon's $350m purchase of chip designer Annapurna Labs in 2015. Amazon also says its new chip results in a 30 percent reduction in financial cost compared to before.

Alexa is not the first Amazon product to rely on AWS instances of the Inferentia-powered Inf1.

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