Amazon Launches New Generative AI-Powered Experiences on Alexa




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Amazon revealed new generative artificial intelligence to rival ChatGPT at the annual Consumer Electronics Show on January 9. The company showcased the collaborative efforts of its partnerships with AI tech developers Character.AI, Splash, and Volley.

At CES 2024, a massive tech event, attendees could try several generative AI experiences that launched on Alexa on January 9. Character.AI lets users have open-ended conversations with AI bots and collaborate with them for several types of tasks, such as planning a trip or picking out their next read. There are more than 25 Characters to select from across four categories: General assistants, skill helpers, historical icons, and just for fun.

Amazon customers can consult with Trip Planner Roberto to plan their next vacation. Writers can collaborate with Creative Writer Dave, a “storytelling mentor” who provides guidance and useful information for worldbuilding. Bibliophiles can check out Librarian Linda, who offers book suggestions. Users can also debate with historical figures like the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates.

While Amazon says Character.AI and Alexa “bring to life the science-fiction dream,” the genre has long shown AI has the potential for severe pitfalls, and tech experts warn to be wary in its early days. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have expressed concerns over the safety of AI and say now is the time to implement strict protocols to keep the technology safe. Last November, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said current safeguards aren’t enough, and AI has the potential to “endanger humanity within five to ten years,” according to Forbes.

Although there’s a need for concern over the safety of generative AI, Amazon’s partnerships with developers create helpful tools to help consumers manage tasks and find information quickly. 

In addition to chatting up Socrates or planning a trip with Roberto, users can play the Text Adventure Game, an interactive text-based roleplaying game. Users can also visit another realm with the Alternate Timeline experience or play 20 Questions created by Volley, who partnered with Amazon in September. The game uses generative AI to interact with users with a series of questions and conversations.

Musicians at heart can use the Splash experience to create songs. Splash, an Alexa Fund portfolio company, uses AI-powered music creation software connected to Alexa that lets users generate lyrics, select vocals, pick a vibe, and make original songs, which are sent to a user’s mobile device.

More than half a billion Alexas have sold since its launch in 2014, and Amazon reports tens of millions of interactions every hour. The company plans to evolve Alexa with new innovations using artificial intelligence through its continued partnerships with developers.

Last year, Amazon launched many generative AI tools to help developers create experiences more efficiently. The tools announced at CES 2024 continue to enable developers to make more experiences for customers that offer real-time data, immersive generative AI-enhanced games, complete tasks like booking a reservation, and get up-to-date news without writing complex code or training specific interaction models.

Image credit: Amazon

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