Sep 24, 2018

Amazon aims to make Alexa assistant bigger part of users' lives

by Aksha Verma
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From the kitchen to the car, Amazon on Thursday sought to make its Alexa digital assistant and online services a bigger part of people’s lives with an array of new products and partnerships.

Updates to the internet giant’s Alexa-infused Echo smart speakers will allow them to tend to microwave cooking and even have “hunches” regarding what users may want or have forgotten. When Alexa is told “corn on the cob,” a digital Echo speaker starts an AmazonBasics microwave oven in a faux home demonstration room, setting the preferred time and voicing what it is doing.

But when asked to add 30 seconds, Alexa pauses and then starts to play songs by the band “Thirty Seconds to Mars.”

Such misunderstandings are routine enough with smart speakers that they have become fodder for humor, and even cropped up while Amazon devices and services senior vice president David Limp showed off new devices in a nearby building a short time earlier. Alexa has gotten smarter, more conversational and even intuitive during the past year as Amazon teams work hard on getting the digital assistant to better understand people, according to Limp.

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