Amazon has introduced a new conversation mode for Alexa to make interactions with the voice assistant more natural. Amazon Echo 10 smart display owners will no longer need to snooze Alexa’s wake word to converse with the voice assistant, and Alexa will pause when interrupted and respond only when it is interrupted. address.
Read the room
Turn taking and more natural responses will activate when an Echo 10 owner says to the smart screen, “Alexa, join the conversation.” A solid blue border around the screen with a blue bar at the bottom indicates that talk mode has been enabled. Once it’s on, anyone in view of the device’s camera looking at the screen can speak with Alexa without repeating her name. Users can end conversation mode and restore Alexa to factory defaults by telling it to “leave conversation” or by manually turning off the microphone or camera. Stopping talking to the voice assistant for a short time will also reset Alexa automatically.
“Conversation mode also allows for smoother interactions,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “Just like we can talk to a friend or talk at the same time when we are thinking about what to order for dinner or what to do on the weekend, when talk mode is on, you can interact with Alexa at your own pace, even when several people are interacting with Alexa. Alexa will respond when addressed and pause if interrupted.
For privacy, only statements to Alexa are supposed to be added to her memory and sent to the cloud, much like if only one person was in the room talking to her. While talk mode activates the video camera, Alexa won’t send any images or video recordings to the cloud, according to Amazon.
Conversation mode is part of the ongoing competition between voice assistants to make interactions more comfortable. Google Assistant is ahead of Amazon in this particular aspect. Google’s Continuous Chat option first arrived in 2018 for Android and smart speakers before coming to smart screens a year later. Continuous Conversation allows users to add additional commands to their Google Assistant commands without having to say the wake word after each individual request. Google has gone ahead with its new Quick Phrases feature, which lets Google Assistant go without a wake-up call, starting with the new Google Pixel 6 line of smartphones.
Amazon first brought up the idea of conversation mode last year, but has already accelerated Alexa’s learning abilities on a different path with similar goals. Talk mode ties in nicely with the Teachable AI feature that prompts Alexa to ask follow-up questions if she doesn’t understand a command, as well as the Latent Lens Inference feature that Alexa uses to extrapolate when a request or an objective is suggested obliquely.
“Natural interaction with another person can be common for us, but it can be difficult for AI,” Amazon wrote. “Our scientists and engineers had to design different ways for Alexa to understand when people were talking to the device and not to each other, and when and how to respond. When talk mode is on, Alexa is able to use visual and acoustic cues to know when to respond to requests.
Amazon Alexa’s natural turn and preference learning could turn Alexa into a great helper, but not yet
Amazon deploys “Teachable AI” feature to turn Alexa into a student of your preferences