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How language processing could help Alexa get to know you better

One thing Alexa has been missing is conversation context – and now Amazon hopes this that new technology will help it evolve further.

A hand reaches over to turn a wooden-cased Alexa device on. It sits on a wooden shelf with metal edges and a succulent pot plant beside it.

Amazon is helping Alexa get to know you.

That’s one of the main points in Nat Rubio-Licht’s Patent Drop article.

Amazon is working to make Alexa process language more naturally. As AG reporter Jennifer Nall said, the patent will help Amazon’s Alexa read sentiment in your voice.

“If a user interacts with different playlists, shopping or browsing histories, or contact lists in different circumstances, a natural language processing system may have difficulty responding promptly and accurately to user requests, particularly to user requests that involve consideration of language or context particular to the user,” Amazon said in its application.

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Amazon definitely wants to clear up that difficulty for Alexa.

The more users use Alexa, the more the AI driving the device will work. The more it works, the more it knows its users. The more it knows its users, the easier it will be for it to understand the user. 

At the end of the day that means Alexa will make a user’s life easier AND Amazon can sell them more stuff, because, it’s important we all remember this, Amazon is a business with shareholders who want to get paid. And Alexa is a world class tool for helping the e-commerce—and a whole lot more—giant make lots and lots of money. From 2004-2022, Amazon made $514 billion

Amazon markets Alexa as a virtual assistant, and it is that. But as Alexa becomes more sentient, it will be interesting to see what’s next.

Our devices knowing everything about us is the name of the data harvesting game. What we’ve seen in social media is a drop in the bucket of what’s coming with AI and machine learning. 

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Amazon is not the only company working to make their devices understand us more and interact more like us. As the Patent Drop article points out Apple and Google are also working on their data collection AI devices, and Microsoft is as well.

Some people like to compare the coming AI world of devices that understand us to 2001 Space Odyssey’s HAL. But really, with Alexa and devices like it, it’s all about the money.

And if that makes life easier, they want us to know that’s okay. “The future was, very literally, in their own hands.” 1968, 2001 Space Odyssey.

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Mary Beth Lee retired from teaching in Texas this year after 28 years as a student media adviser. She spends her time these days reading, writing, fighting for public education and enjoying the empty nester life in Downtown Fort Worth.

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