Tag: Alexa

Amazon sends Alexa developers on quest for ‘holy grail of voice science’

At Amazon’s re:Mars conference last week, the company rolled out Alexa Conversations in preview. Conversations is a module within the Alexa Skills Kit that stitches together Alexa voice apps into experiences that help you accomplish complex tasks. Alexa Conversations may be Amazon’s most intriguing and substantial pitch to voice developers in years. Conversations will make […]

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Amazon brings in-skill purchasing to Alexa kid skills

Parents with Alexa-enabled devices, brace yourselves (and your wallets): Amazon today announced that in-skill purchasing (ISP), a feature that allows voice app developers to charge for digital content, is now available in preview for kid skill experiences in the U.S. skills store. It’s supported by a slew of new tools, including APIs designed to help […]

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AI improves Alexa’s error rate with challenging training sets

Machine learning algorithms at the core of voice assistants learn to make predictions from libraries of labeled samples. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa is regularly fed text snippets like “Play the Prince song 1999,” where “1999” and “Prince” are mapped to the categories “SongName” and “ArtistName,” respectively. It’s a highly effective means of driving systems to […]

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Alexa users in the U.K. can now call Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. for free

Good news for Vodafone U.K. customers who have Alexa-enabled devices on hand: Soon, they’ll be able to tap their mobile plans to make and receive calls from smart speakers, smart displays, and more with Amazon’s voice assistant. Amazon today announced that starting this week, eligible subscribers can link their mobile accounts to dial numbers hands-free. […]

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Amazon researchers bolsters Alexa’s language learning with preexisting knowledge

You’d think that adapting Alexa, which supports a range of languages including Spanish, German, and Japanese, to varieties within a dialect continua would be a piece of cake compared with “teaching” it new language families, but this isn’t so. According to the Seattle company’s researchers, the gulf is wide between British English and American English, […]

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Amazon’s AI rewrites voice commands in natural language to reduce false positives

“Reference resolution” is a considerable challenge in natural language processing — in the context of AI assistants like Alexa, it entails correctly associating a word like “their” in the utterance like “play their latest album” with a given musician. Scientists at Amazon have previously addressed it by tapping AI that maps correspondences between variables used […]

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Amazon debuts Alexa Conversations for seamless multi-turn interactions

Amazon today introduced Alexa Conversations in developer preview, a deep learning-based way to make Alexa skills with visuals and multi-turn dialogue. Conversations shrinks the lines of code necessary to create voice apps down from 5,500 to 1,700 lines of code, Amazon VP and head scientist for Alexa Rohit Prasad said today at the Amazon re:Mars […]

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Last week in tech: New Bose headphones, more 5G internet, and Uber’s new rating policy

Every day, technology forces us to navigate a swath of complicated social situations. The grand champion of awkward, tech-based interactions, however, is the rating dance we do with Lyft and Uber drivers. This week, we found out that Uber riders with low ratings (rumors suggest the cutoff is somewhere around 4.6) may soon find themselves […]

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AI Weekly: California is trying to control big tech

Tech giants are facing threats of regulation on many fronts, but in the months ahead, California is poised to become ground zero. A new feature for Amazon’s Alexa might be indicative of that fact. On Wednesday, Amazon rolled out voice commands to delete the recordings that take place every time you use the “Alexa” wake […]

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Amazon’s $90 Echo Show 5 has a sliding camera cover as part of Alexa’s privacy makeover

This morning, Amazon announced the $90 Echo Show 5. It’s essentially an Echo smart speaker with an adorable little 5.5-inch touchscreen display on the front. It’s roughly half the size and less than half the price of the 10.1-inch, $229 Echo Show, and the 5 will probably only get cheaper once Prime Day, Black Friday, […]

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Amazon launches ‘Alexa, delete what I said today’ voice command

Starting today, Amazon’s AI assistant will respond to the voice command “Alexa, delete what I said today,” Amazon announced today. The AI assistant will soon respond to the voice command “Alexa, delete what I just said” to get rid of individual recordings in the United States, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. The […]

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How Amazon’s facial recognition ambition could stunt Alexa’s development

In debates now raging in the U.S. Congress and in legislatures around the country, China has been repeatedly invoked as the boogeyman, including by a senator introducing national AI legislation this week and a San Francisco lawmaker ahead of a vote to ban facial recognition software last week. But fears of a dystopian AI future […]

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