Amazon held its annual press event to showcase its new hardware devices today. She also used the event to talk about her plans to develop artificial intelligence features.
in her live blog about the event, Amazon has revealed that it is developing a major new language model in conjunction with its Alexa digital assistant. It will be available in preview form soon on all Amazon Echo devices for US residents.
Our latest model has been optimized specifically for voice and the things we know our customers love – like accessing real-time information, effectively controlling their smart home and getting the most out of their home entertainment.
The live blog included a description of a demo of the generic Alexa-based AI chatbot. Amazon’s retiring head of hardware, Dave Limp, paused at times to address media in the audience, but was able to pick up right where he left off to chat with Alexa. It’s no longer necessary to say “Alexa” to start a conversation, and Amazon’s new voice recognition technology will match your “natural pauses and hesitations to deliver a more fluid conversation.”
Beyond today’s demo, Amazon says it’s working on another creative AI model. The blog says:
Instead of first converting a client’s audio request to text using speech recognition, then using LLM to generate a text response or action, and then text-to-speech to generate audio back – this new model will unify these tasks, creating a much richer conversational experience.
In 2024, Amazon will allow third-party developers to access its new LLM to create new experiences with Alexa. Some of these companies are already working on these new AI features. Amazon stated:
We are working with the BMW Group to develop in-car voice assistant capabilities that provide a natural way to interact and get to know your car, including quick instructions and answers about your vehicle’s features.
Other companies are working on ways to use Alexa AI for other things, like creating songs or having natural conversations with AI-based characters.
More features are coming to Alexa-based devices. They include call translation for Echo Show products. Amazon says it will record Alexa conversations in real time. It will be launched later in 2023 in 10 different languages.