Never say never’ to Alexa on Kindle

From iNews:

The Kindle was Amazon’s first standalone product, marking a departure from its online bookstore strategy and into the world of consumer electronics. While the company has never officially announced sales figures, its success paved the way for the release of the Fire tablet, Fire TV Stick, ill-fated Fire Phone, and wildly successful series of smart speakers: the Dot, Echo, Tap and Show, and smart camera Look, all of which Limp watches over as senior vice president of Amazon devices and services.

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As the Kindle become the go-to term for an e-reader, the Echo, according to Limp, who is in London to visit Amazon’s vast new Shoreditch offices, “kind of invented a new category”. The voice-powered smart speaker, controlled by artificially intelligent digital assistant Alexa, went on sale in the UK last year and is capable of setting timers, browsing the internet and even telling jokes through the cloud, meaning it gets smarter over time. Such is Alexa’s ubiquity, people have started calling Echos ‘Alexas’.

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What sets Amazon apart from other consumer electronics companies is its desire to “do more than just make a gadget, and by gadget, I mean things you would buy and most likely put in a drawer a few months later,” Limp says, explaining that for people to keep using an Echo, it must constantly evolve to stay relevant and useful.

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“Our view is that these AIs need to work together. If we get to a world where there’s just one of them, that’s not good for customers,” Limp says. “You want to have the ability for AIs to collaborate, and certain AIs will be good at some things, and others will be better at others. When you use Alexa to order a pizza from Dominos, that’s invoking another AI that [is] an expert in pizza.”

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AI is “foundational” across all of Amazon’s departments, not just consumer electronics, he says, adding that children born today “will never remember a world when they weren’t able to talk to their house and the things around them – and that’s the way it should be.”

Link to the rest at iNews and thanks to Suzie for the tip.

6 thoughts on “Never say never’ to Alexa on Kindle”

  1. My friend’s kids always have Alexa play their new favorite song and then they dance around. They will grown up not realizing the utterly magical thing that just answers their requests! They call her Alexa as do I. I had totally forgotten it was called Echo.

  2. Some of us aren’t on with this concept. I don’t want a hackable house. When I deal with the oven or dishwasher or fridge, it needs to be on my terms, analogue if I can get it. And without yet another component to potentially fail. Uh-uh.

  3. It’s odd, I’ve written sci-fi in which people ‘talk to their house’, but I’ve never felt the slightest urge to do so myself. Perhaps if the Alexa were not connected to the Cloud I might be tempted, but as it stands, I’m old enough to worry about privacy.

    • At this point, worrying about privacy is like worrying about Bigfoot — it probably doesn’t exist.

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