Amazon Alexa will now guess what to ask next

Amazon Alexa just keeps getting smarter and has an additional feature that lets you guess what users want to ask after an initial question. The new change is known as “inferring latent customer goals” and is the result of various “sophisticated algorithms” that Alexa can use to predict subsequent requirements. In addition to the latest update, Amazon announced that it is offering Alexa an elderly-targeted care hub so users can offer remote care to their aging loved ones. The Care Hub for Alexa was announced by Amazon at its product event in September.

With the ability to infer latent goals, Amazon Alexa can ask more questions based on your original questions. This is a further step towards a natural interaction experience with the voice assistant.

So when you ask Alexa about the time it takes to soak the tea, you will be answered by saying, “Five minutes is a good start,” and then asked, “Would you like me to set a timer? for five minutes? “

Amazon explains in a blog entry that it uses a deep learning-based trigger model that takes into account factors such as the text of the client’s current session with Alexa and whether the client has looked at Alexa’s multi-skill suggestions in the past. This helps Alexa propose a latent goal using a discovery model.

“Over time, the discovery model improves its prediction through active learning, which will identify sample interactions that would be particularly informative in future fine-tuning,” the company said.

Once the recognition model suggests some latent goals, Alexa uses a semantic role labeling model to look for named entities and other arguments from the current conversation. It also uses bandit learning, which uses machine learning to keep track of whether referrals are helpful to users.

Amazon has already made the new experience in English available to Alexa for users in the US. Skill developers have also received the Name-Free Interaction Toolkit to make their skills more visible to the discovery model.

In addition to the new update, Amazon created the Care Hub available on Alexa so users can monitor the well-being of people in need, especially older family members. The new solution requires care recipients to have an Echo or Alexa-based device, while the person providing support needs to have the Alexa app on their phone.

An invitation must be sent to the caregiver from the care recipient’s Alexa app. Once this invitation is accepted, the Care Hub will provide notifications and an activity feed in the caregiver’s Alexa app. In addition, the caregiver can speak to the recipient by tapping “Tap to Call” or “Drop By”. There is also the possibility that those in need of care can get help from their caregivers by saying, “Alexa, call for help.” This prompts the voice assistant to call, send a text message and send a push notification to the caregiver’s phone.

In addition to providing alerts and the ability to monitor the health of those who need them, the Care Hub is touted for keeping their privacy safe. This way, caregivers can’t see exactly what songs or podcasts the recipients are listening to, or what they have told Alexa while accessing their activity feed.

With the Care Hub, Amazon would like to “help make remote care easier for both the supportive person and their aging relatives”. However, the new offer is initially limited to the USA.

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