Amazon Alexa will now guess what you want to ask next
Amazon Alexa is getting smarter and comes with an added ability to guess what users would like to do after hearing an initial question. The new change is called “inferring latent customer goals” and comes as a result of several “sophisticated algorithms” that help Alexa predict subsequent requests. In addition to the latest update, Amazon has announced that it will bring senior-centric Care Hub to Alexa to allow users to provide remote care for their elderly loved ones. Amazon announced Care Hub for Alexa at its product event in September.
With the ability to infer latent targets, Amazon Alexa you will be able to ask follow-up questions based on what you initially asked. This is another step towards a natural interaction experience with the voice assistant.
So when you ask Alexa About the time required to steep the tea, you will be answered by saying, “Five minutes is a good place to start,” and then you will be asked for a follow-up: “Would you like me to set a timer for five minutes?”
Amazon explains in a blog post which uses a deep learning-based activation model that considers factors including the text of the customer’s current session with Alexa and whether the customer has engaged with Alexa’s multi-skill suggestions in the past. This helps Alexa suggest a latent target using a discovery model.
“Over time, the discovery model improves its prediction through active learning, which identifies sample interactions that would be particularly informative during future adjustments,” the company said.
Once the discovery model begins to suggest some latent goals, Alexa uses a semantic role tagging model to search for named entities and other arguments from the current conversation. It also uses bandit learning that leverages machine learning to track whether recommendations are useful to users.
Amazon has already enabled the new English Alexa experience for US users Skill developers have also been provided the Unnamed Interaction Toolkit to make their skills more visible to the discovery model.
In addition to the new update, Amazon has created Care Hub available on Alexa to allow users to monitor people the well-being of those who need assistance, especially elderly family members. The new solution requires the care recipients to have an Echo or Alexa-based device, while the person providing support must have the Alexa app on their phone.
An invitation must be sent from the caregiver’s Alexa app to the caregiver. Once the invitation is accepted, Care Hub will begin providing alerts and a feed of activity in the caregiver’s Alexa app. It will also allow the caregiver to talk to the recipient using the “touch to call” or “connect” functions. Similarly, there is an option to allow caregivers to get help from their caregivers by saying, “Alexa, ask for help.” This will cause the voice assistant to call, text, and send an automatic notification to the caregiver’s phone.
In addition to providing alerts and the ability to monitor the health of people in need, Care Hub promotes itself to maintain your privacy. So it doesn’t allow caregivers to look at what exact songs or podcasts the receivers are listening to or what they said to Alexa while accessing their activity.
Amazon aims to “help simplify the remote care experience for both the support person and their elderly loved one” with Care Hub. However, the new offering is initially limited to the US.