As the battle for voice-based AI systems heats up, Amazon has a little-publicized advantage, argues MIT Technology Review‘s Tom Simonite – a huge trove of data collected from real life use of the company’s smart home technology.
This all comes by way of Alexa, the AI assistant designed to respond to users’ questions and commands through devices like the Echo smart home hub. Speaking at the recent AI Frontiers conference, Alexa and Echo pioneer Nikko Strom suggested that data emerging from real use has already been leveraged to improve Alexa with features like voice biometric analysis sophisticated enough to differentiate between speakers. And there’s a lot of it: “We get an insane amount of data coming in that we can work on,” he said.
Google, one of Amazon’s main competitors in this area, is also working hard on its own technology, of course, particularly as it seeks to promote its own smart home hub solution. But just as Google helped to stifle competition in search engines by using its wealth of data, Simonite argues, Amazon has way more real-world data to work with than its competition as it seeks to refine Alexa. And given that over five million Echo devices have been sold, with Alexa also being incorporated into products from third party developers, it’s going to have a solid foothold in this market even as Google and new rival Apple try to elbow their way ahead.
Source: MIT Technology Review