Everything Amazon announced this week: Alexa 2.0, Echo Show 8, Fire TV, more

Google Assistant is getting a generative AI boost, so why not Alexa? Amazon just announced that it’s adding generative AI to its popular virtual assistant.

Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa already use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as a basis for their natural language-processing platforms. This allows them to respond to your questions, follow commands, and perform tasks in a conversational way as if you were talking to another person.

Also: Amazon is turning Alexa into a hands-free ChatGPT

However, these systems are different from generative AI. If you ask Alexa a question about something, it’ll likely begin its answer with something like “According to an Alexa Answers contributor…”. This difference is because Alexa can access information online and parrot it to you, but it cannot generate those answers.

Adding generative AI capabilities to Alexa will allow the virtual assistant to create answers for you instead of looking them up online. It’s an approach that enables Alexa to answer multiple questions in one query and provide customized ideas, such as a recipe with the items in your fridge. 

Now, aside from responding accurately to these questions, Alexa can generate personalized stories from an Echo device and recommend content on your Fire TV more accurately.

Also: The best live TV streaming services of 2023 

According to Charlie French, director of smart home at Amazon, the latest large language model will give customers a more conversational and less transactional exchange than ever. Users can ask Alexa to create routines with just their voice or, for example, to “turn on the new light” —  and Alexa will find the newest device added.

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The Amazon Alexa app is also getting a new look later this year with Map View, which will give users a simpler way to see their smart home and all the devices within it — no more scrolling down a list of 40 devices. 

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