Amazon tries to make Alexa feel more natural with proactive queries
What you need to know
- Alexa is going to be more proactive with skills in response to user queries.
- It will now recommend skills to customers based on what it thinks they want after it responds to an initial query.
- Amazon is rolling this out to U.S. English speakers first.
Amazon is working on building out its Alexa digital assistant to be more context-sensitive when responding to user queries. It's rolling out a feature where the assistant will try and guess what you want it to do after making a request. Think of this way; if you ask a waiter for the bill, they would ask if you're paying by cash or card because it's a natural follow-up question. Alexa will apply that logic to relevant queries where it sees fit and bubble up a relevant skill.
Digital assistants have grown to be more conversational and proactive over the years, but this feature strikes as one that could be counterproductive. For instance, one could imagine a scenario where a user gets increasingly annoyed at Alexa constantly inferring latent goals to simple queries to the point that they don't engage with the assistant verbally anymore. Amazon could pre-empt this by adding a toggle, but that would defeat the purpose of this feature.
Building a competent, truly futuristic digital assistant is hard. Doing so while trying not to annoy customers is even harder, and Amazon certainly has its work cut out for it.
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