The race to get the fanciest virtual personal assistant is officially on, and it looks like Amazon’s Alexa is going to be winning the edge with a new trick. Alexa hasn’t necessarily been the frontrunner in the journey to inevitably carry out the robot apocalypse, lacking abilities like Googling or facial recognition, but Amazon is going to be teaching her something much more impressive: the ability to recognize human emotion.
I know, this totally sounds like the start of every single “robot taking over the world” movie, but the emotion recognition software isn’t as creepy as it sounds at first blush. Alexa won’t respond to the suggestion of frustration like your human friends will (don’t expect her to say, “You sound upset. Is everything okay?”). Instead, her emotion sensing will be used to deescalate situations when she doesn’t quite get the job done.As Gizmodo explains, the emotion recognition is something that a lot of automated systems already use. I’m sure you’ve heard an automated system respond with something like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that” when you get frustrated because it doesn’t understand you. Similarly, Alexa will be able to hear patterns in your voice to sense frustration, and she’ll apologize for not understanding your request.
Though Alexa can already do quite a bit—like set a kitchen timer, control lights, and do your shopping for you—Amazon is beefing up Alexa’s capabilities to stand against the rumored Google competitor. And while the emotion recognition is cool, she still is lacking in some basic capabilities, like the ability to search the web for information. However, if they’re starting to teach her to respond to our emotions, it can’t be too long until she learns how to Google. Or takes over humankind. You know, either/or.
Do you have an Amazon Echo? Do you like Alexa, or is there another virtual assistant that you prefer? What other upgrades would you like to see Amazon give Alexa? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
When will we have Ultron-level A.I.? Watch below to hear Kyle Hill speak on the subject.
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