Voice assistants have captured a place in our daily lives. It’s actually amazing all that they can do – even more so that they can learn to do even more. Amazon announced that Alexa is now gaining Conversation Mode to make your patter with it even more natural.
Artificial Intelligence Behind Alexa
In its blog announcement, Amazon described the artificial intelligence strides it has made in the development of Alexa since 2014. It claimed that Alexa interacts with users “billions of times each week.”
The AI can already handle separating multiple requests in one statement, such as, “Add eggs, milk, and bread to my shopping list.” This will add three separate items to your shopping list. It’s also able to take your tone and the different words you stress into consideration.
A new Fire TV feature in beta will make movie and TV suggestions if you ask, “Alexa, what should I watch?”
But one thing that limits Alexa’s usefulness is that you have to use the wake word, Alexa, with every direction. But that doesn’t mimic a real human conversation.
Alexa Conversation Mode
The drive for a more natural flow has led to Alexa Conversation Mode. It allows for that natural back-and-forth patter, one that does not require you to address Alexa by name before each direction within one interaction.
Alexa Conversation Mode is rolling out to the Echo Show 10 (3rd gen) and is an opt-in feature. You can enable it by saying, “Alexa, join the conversation.” This allows anyone in the room to talk with Alexa without using the wake word each time. However, for Alexa to “listen,” you have to be in view of the Echo Show and looking at it.
Multiple people can address Alexa at the same time, and she will pause and listen to all and respond when she gets a chance. It makes a much more natural conversation. However, it would mean everyone has to be in view of the device and facing it, which limits that natural feel.
Despite the openness of Conversation Mode, it’s also designed to be private and secure. You can back out of the free-flowing conversation by saying, “Leave the conversation,” or by turning off the mic button or closing the camera shutter. Additionally, after you stop speaking for a while, Alexa Conversation Mode will automatically shut off.
You will know when Conversation Mode is active, as a solid blue border will appear around the screen’s outer edges. A light blue bar at the bottom will let you know when your directions are being sent to the cloud.
Images and video will not be sent to the cloud, and you can remove your conversations in the Alexa app if you wish.
Amazon didn’t mention when other devices might get Conversation Mode but did say it would be rolling out to the Echo Show 10 (3rd gen) in the coming weeks.