Amazon is planning to release a newer, subscription-based version of Alexa with generative artificial intelligence support on June 30, but the project might be struggling.
Amazon hopes that putting its AI-upgraded Alexa –which may be called “Alexa Plus” or “Remarkable Alexa”– behind a paywall will drive revenue, but the plan is under a lot of pressure.
In 2022, reports said Alexa was set to lose Amazon $10 billion that year. As recent as November, Amazon cut several hundred jobs in its Alexa division. In short, a smaller team has to handle more work in a short amount of time.
In addition, asking people who already use the voice assistant to start paying for it could backfire.
“[S]ome were questioning the entire premise of charging for Alexa,” sources said in the report of other Amazon employees. “For example, people who already pay for an existing Amazon service, such as Amazon Music, might not be willing to pay additional money to get access to the newer version of Alexa.”
The new technology has been tested by 15,000 customers, according to the report, and while it excels in human-like conversation, it’s “deflecting answers, often giving unnecessarily long or inaccurate responses.”
This comes after Amazon unveiled an upgraded, more human-sounding version of Alexa in September. The enhancements aim to bring the company’s voice assistant in line with newer artificial intelligence technology.
Amazon declined to comment.
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