Home » Technology » Alexa goes down the conversational rabbit hole – TechCrunch

Alexa goes down the conversational rabbit hole – TechCrunch

Alexa goes down the conversational rabbit hole – TechCrunch

Onstage at re:Mars this week, Amazon showcased a developing Alexa feature meant to mimic the flow of natural language. Conversation between two humans rarely follows some predefined structure. It goes to strange and unexpected places. One topic segues into another, as participants inject their lived experience.

In a demo, a conversation about trees turns to one about hiking and parks. In the context of the company’s AI, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, refers to the phenomenon as “conversation exploration.” It’s not a proper name for a proper feature, exactly. There isn’t a switch that gets flipped to suddenly enable conversations overnight. Rather, it’s part of an evolving notion of how Alexa can interact with users in a more human — or perhaps, more humane — manner.

Smart assistants like Alexa have traditionally provided a much more simplistic question-and-response model. Ask Alexa the weather, and Alexa tells you the weather in a predetermined area. Ask her the A’s score (or, honestly, probably don’t), and Alexa tells you the A’s score. It’s a straightforward interaction, not dissimilar to typing a question into a search engine. But, again, real-world conversations rarely play out this way.

See also  Subpoenas Could End Donald Trump's SPAC Dreams for Truth Social

“There’s a whole range of questions Alexa gets, which are very much information bearing. When those questions happen, you can imagine they’re not point questions,” Prasad told TechCrunch in a conversation at the event. “They’re really about something the customer wants to learn more about. What’s on top of our minds right now is what’s happening with inflation. We get a ton of requests to Alexa like that, and it gives you that kind of exploration experience.”

Such conversational features, however,…

Read full article on techcrunch.com