Amazon has kicked off its hardware event with a plethora of news, including updates that allow Alexa to join conversations and remember things better.
The latter feature is arguably the most intriguing. As demonstrated by Amazon during its event, the AI can now be asked to join in on a conversation. In effect, Alexa can become a third person in the conversation. And that comes complete with awareness regarding when it is — or isn't — being addressed. So it won't interrupt or interject when users don't want it to.
Additionally, the users in the demo didn't need to wake Alexa up again, allowing the AI to integrate without saying "Alexa" again.
Updates allowing conversations with AI are great but what else can the new Alexa do?
Setting aside the ability to interact as a third participant in conversations, Alexa is also getting a couple of other great updates. To begin with, it's going to be more conversational too.
Amazon says that Alexa will sound more natural in the flow of a conversation in terms of its tone and understanding context. That means that it will pause, add emphasis to words, and more, naturally. And all within the context of the conversation that's being had either with Alexa as a third participant or one-on-one.
Finally, Amazon revealed that Alexa will now be able to remember clarifications made by end-users. In its demonstration, Alexa was told to "set the light to Rohit's reading mode." Alexa misunderstood the request. So the AI asked what the presenter meant by "Rohit's reading mode."
The presenter told Alexa that the light should be set to an exact percentage.
In the past, Alexa would simply have set the light to that percentage and called it a day. Now, Alexa will remember when users clarify. So, using Amazon's example, Rohit can simply repeat his initial request in the future. And Alexa will remember to set the light to his defined percentage.
These updates should be rolling out immediately
Now, no exact timeline for these updates to arrive has been reported. But, as with most updates for Alexa and unlike most of the hardware announced today, Amazon should be rolling these changes out now. So users will want to keep an ear out for the update to arrive. To check manually for updates, users need to log into the Alexa application and navigate to Settings. The update settings are featured under the "About" section of the resulting menu.