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Amazon to patent Alexa reading *sentiment* in your voice

Amazon quietly applied for a patent that confirms why we’ve been so nice to AI voice assistants in the event they can someday understand sentiment…

amazon alexa ai sentiment

Amazon’s made one thing clear – they’re far more than a fast and convenient shopping destination. The e-commerce powerhouse has successfully countless tech categories, such as cloud computing, advertising, voice assistant tools (Alexa), and streaming.

Amazon now hopes to patent technology within its Alexa smart devices that can read the user’s sentiment!

Patent Drop recently analyzed information on Amazon’s latest patent application, in which it hopes to own the technology to read the user’s demeanor.

While you may not immediately find this to be a useful development, Amazon has given examples on how the technology may be applied. 

A user may ask Alexa to send a text message and add an emoji. Instead of selecting a specific emoji, Alexa will sense the user’s tone and add one it deems appropriate.

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For example, if you were to say, “Alexa, text Sam Happy Birthday and add an emoji,” the smart device may suggest something like a birthday cake or balloons. The feature also sounds helpful when asking Alexa for suggestions.

If you ask Alexa for music recommendation and it senses a calm, somber tone, it may play something like Bon Iver or classical music, but if you sound happy, you might get a mix of the latest pop hits! We wonder if the technology will account for your relative age as well, so that it gives suggestions that may be of interest to a specific generation.

As incredible as machine-learning technology is, we’ve probably all had a moment of weakness where we broke down and called Alexa, Siri, or Google an idiot… or worse.

With AI technology absorbing so much of the user’s behavior, we can’t help but encourage users to be kind to their virtual assistants. Imagine you mutter a task to your smart device, but it can’t understand you.

Instead of asking you to repeat yourself, it blurts out, “Shut up!” Not exactly the reply you’d welcome, eh? Perhaps having some patience with your smart technology will prevent you from encountering such an experience!

We do wonder how the sentiment-reading technology may work on someone who doesn’t emote much or speaks to their virtual assistants in a neutral cadence. Will the device learn to respond to different family members based on how they sound?

For now, Eldad Postan-Koren, co-founder and CEO at WINN.AI thinks, “if we’re willing to train AI to help us… understanding sentiment can help it understand human communication.”

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So take a deep breath next time you find yourself in a shouting match with Alexa!

Jennifer is a native Houstonian (go Astros!) with a knack for creating digital works of art. She has expansive experience creating content and branded collateral for Fortune 500 companies, as well as small local businesses. When she’s not buried in her laptop, Jennifer is the marketing director for a world championship circuit barbecue cook off team and pet mom to dog (Milo) and Guinea pig (Piggy Smalls).


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