Alexa’s getting ‘more expressive,’ and your Echo will soon join your conversations

Alexa is getting teachable AI.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon has unveiled new artificial intelligence capabilities for Alexa, aimed at making the voice assistant more conversational in your home. Alexa will be “more natural and more expressive,” Amazon said during its annual product launch event Thursday.

Tapping tech advancements in neural text-to-speech, Amazon said it’s using AI to make Alexa’s responses better suited to how actual human conversation occurs. This includes multisensory artificial intelligence, or the ability for multiple people to be in conversation with the voice assistant.

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Read more: Every new Alexa feature announced so far at today’s Amazon event

“As human beings, our conversations are far more free flowing, very less structured, we often don’t use each other’s names. We talk over each other, and we speak simultaneous,” Amazon said. Alexa will use context from an entire conversation to decide whether a request is meant for her. 

Amazon is calling it teachable AI, where Alexa can ask questions to fill gaps in contextual understanding. The capability will arrive in the coming months.

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Corinne Reichert