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Amazon gives Alexa a generative AI boost

Amazon has announced they will be giving their virtual assistant ‘Alexa’ an injection of a new generative AI model as the AI race between tech giants continues.

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Amazon gives Alexa a generative AI boost

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The company states its Large Language Model (LLM) is designed to hold a more conversational style, with a more natural or human voice with an adjustable tone. The new feature is called “let’s chat”, and an early preview will be rolled out to existing Echo owners in the next few weeks.

David Limp, SVP of devices and services at Amazon, presented these updates to the press at its HQ2 headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Limp said: “Our latest model has been specifically optimised 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.”

CNBC reports that there were some “hiccups” during the presentation of the device, including Alexa lagging and questions being repeated.

The LLM will allow Alexa to compose messages on behalf of users when asked, and allow it to respond in more “natural” ways. For example, during the presentation Limp asked Alexa what its favourite sports team was, it said the Seahawks and followed up with stats and game times.

Limp also previewed how this tool will be used in smart homes to make conversational requests, such as “look spooky” to change lights or “there’s a mess in here” to launch a robot vacuum.

Amazon Web Services launched a series of AI products aimed at helping other companies develop their own chatbots and image-generation services earlier this year. The move comes as part of a wider AI race following the popularity of ChatGPT. Microsoft has since started work on a generative AI product, as has Google Cloud.

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