With ChatGPT, generative AI, and all its competitors taking the world by storm, we knew it would only be a matter of time before companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple began integrating it into their technology. Whether you call it generative AI or conversational, it’s going to change dramatically our interaction with Alexa (and other personal assistants).
That day has come for Alexa, who will now be able to hold a conversation and execute more than one command at a time. Amazon is giving a sneak peek into what a world with a smart Alexa will be like, and you can sign up to be notified via email when the new capability is available.
Opt-In to Get Selected for the Experience
Amazon has designed the new generative AI capabilities of Alexa to be an opt-in experience. That is, you won’t automatically get this upgrade just because you have an Alexa-enabled device. As of Nov 1st, you can sign up so that your Alexa will be upgraded when Alexa’s generative AI is rolled out shortly.
To opt-in, you’ll need to click the button on the website to register. If you’re selected, you’ll receive instructions via email. These capabilities will continuously evolve, and as new ones become available, you’ll be notified. Will you be one of the first to try out Alexa’s new conversational skills?
A New Way of Conversing
Right off the bat, one of the things that makes conversing with Alexa so much more natural is that you do not have to use only the wake word, “Alexa,” every time you want to say a new command within a conversation.
You could simply say, “Alexa, let’s chat,” and you begin a string of conversation in which you can ask about anything that interests you, including how your favorite sports team did in the game last night, specifics about their score, and who they’re playing next.
Alexa can tell you about great dinner spots, help you plan your weekend getaway, and recommend movies you might like. You can ask her what a popular song is in your favorite genre, and switch topics mid-conversation like you would with a friend, and it’ll follow your lead.
A Smarter Home
Smart home features have been upgraded, too. Routines were something you could previously only create in the Alexa app. If you asked Alexa to create one, it would direct you to the app with clear instructions on how to choose a Routine or create your own.
With the new capability, you can say, “Alexa, turn on the light in the bedroom, set it to a soft, warm white, and set the thermostat to 68 degrees,” and it’ll create a Bedtime Routine for you.
Your Creative Assistant
Alexa also has new creative features. Need a thank you note or invitation drafted? Alexa can do that, in a theme of your choosing (such as Murder Mystery party), and send that to the Alexa app in your phone. This is a total time-saver, and something I am looking forward to as I routinely use dictation for a variety of projects.
AI is definitely a game changer when it comes to personal assistants. Our editor has used ChatGPT for almost a year, to plan vacations, trade show trips, etc. He swears it’s a game changer and it saves him dozens of hours of research before any travels. Remember, this is only the very beginning. Soon we’ll be taking things for granted, like Alexa becoming a companion.
It’s not just about planning vacations. Generative AI is Conversational AI, and it should prove to be one of the greatest gifts to many seniors who live alone, as Alexa (and other AIs) become human-seeming companions, capable of conversing about everyday things of interest to its users – sports, news, hobbies…
The future is coming fast and it sure looks like AI is behind the wheel.