Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, will be equipped with generative artificial intelligence (AI), the company announced Wednesday, signaling the entry into the race to deploy this technology of the giant of online commerce and the cloud.
Voice assistants such as Alexa or Siri (Apple) are often seen as perfect candidates for integrating programs like ChatGPT, which can interact with humans in natural language and produce all kinds of content on demand.
Thanks to generative AI, Alexa should be able to compose a message to send to a contact or a recipe based on the ingredients available to the user, all with a simple verbal command in the living room or kitchen. The user will no longer have to repeat "Alexa" endlessly to give his commands, and the connected device will know that he is being addressed through a camera.
It's going to take some time to integrate these technologies into the Alexa ecosystem," Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president of devices and services, said during a presentation in Washington. "But I'm very optimistic and I think we've made a great start," he added.
An English-language version of Alexa AI will be available as an option on all Amazon devices (such as Echo smart speakers) in the U.S. in the coming months.
Assistants who have changed little
Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant have changed little in recent years and have not become very profitable products. They are mainly used to give the weather, play music or control household appliances. But the race for generative AI, dominated by ChatGP (OpenAI), Google and Microsoft, could change that.
According to Dave Limp, thanks to the latest generation of AI, Alexa will soon be able to abandon its robotic tone and create a semblance of a personal relationship with users, including informing them about their habits or favorite sports teams.
For example, you could say, 'Alexa, every morning at 8 a.m., turn on the coffee maker, open the blinds, dim the lights in the office and broadcast the morning news,' and that's it, it creates a routine," he detailed.
Daniel Rausch, head of Alexa, told reporters that Amazon will put more emphasis on AI accuracy, to avoid the risk of inadequate and invented responses seen in exchanges with ChatGPT or Bard (Google).
Accuracy in a smart home means that yes, we turned on the right light, we locked the right door, we are sure of the state of the security system," he said.
Amazon also introduced its latest centralized appliance control device (the Echo 8), as well as a TV speaker and new AI-powered search tools for its FireTV service.