“Amazon had also said last month that more than 100 million Alexa devices had been sold to date, including the Echo Dot and other Echo-branded devices, along with those from third-parties.
Google, of course, quickly responded with a note that its Assistant AI will be on a billion devices by the end of January.
A new number Amazon shared yesterday was that the number of voice applications built for Alexa had now topped 80,000 worldwide. That’s up from the 70,000 skills Amazon was touting back in December.
The company said in November it now has more than 10,000 employees working on Alexa, as a point of reference. But it’s challenged in building up a knowledge base of questions and answers — something Google has worked on since the launch of its Knowledge Graph in 2012.”
“On the AI assistant front, we saw Alexa and Cortana begin to work together.
We documented how this fall Google, Facebook, and Amazon simultaneously fought major scandals while at the same time entering full pitch mode for smart displays, and we looked at the need for trust in AI assistant adoption.
One of my favorites from Kyle Wiggers is about the danger that too much focus on apocalyptic AGI scenarios of the future will distract from pressing problems we face now.
My favorite from former AI staff writer Blair Hanley Frank analyzed the way tech companies market AI solutions and proclaimed that Sensei, Watson, and Einstein must die.”
“Gene Munster and Will Thompson, two researchers from Loup Ventures, tested Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant. They found that Siri correctly answered 74.6 percent of the 800 questions administered. Alexa answered 72.5 percent correctly, Cortana answered 63.4 percent and Google Assistant scored the highest at 87.9 percent.”
“Today, thousands of products integrate with the company’s Alexa platform to make use of its voice search and query capabilities. Just as it once foresaw e-commerce, streaming, and cloud computing as the future of the internet, Amazon saw AI as not just something that could live within the smartphone — as Apple established with Siri and Google with its Assistant — but also in the home.
As it stands today, Amazon employs more than half a million people, more so than any other technology company in the country and second only to Walmart in the US. But the eventual result of its investments in robotics and AI is that technology’s biggest and fast-growing workforce could see that growth start to slow and, perhaps years down the line, even shrink as robots tackle ever more complicated tasks. In the process, the company may develop robots for use outside its fulfillment centers. Amazon has already changed how we shop and, by extension, how we live our lives. Its next big step could be changing how we work.”
“According to a recent study by Voicebot.ai, 47.3 million Americans, or nearly one in five, now have access to a smart speaker. That’s a lot of people asking voice assistants for directions, recipes, jokes, music and, increasingly, to make purchases. Of those 47 million who own smart speakers, 57% have made a purchase using that speaker.”
“Our own recent research showed 55% of shoppers said they like purchasing through voice-activated devices,” El-Arifi says.
“According to a recent study by ReportLinker, 31% of consumers list privacy concerns as the main drawback to owning a smart device. But at the same time, 90% of smart speaker owners wish their devices could do more, suggesting that the best way to stave off privacy concerns is to add value.”