Amazon Alexa is a voice-activated interactive artificial intelligence robot, or personal assistant, that allows people to talk to Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, and other Amazon smart home devices. Like Siri and Cortana, Alexa is designed to respond to many different commands and even talk to users.
How was Alexa Born
In the early days, Alexa was just a patent content. On August 31, 2012, four Amazon engineers registered a basic patent. The content of this patent eventually evolved into Alexa.
A male user said in a quiet room, “Please play Let It Be of the Beatles.”
A small desktop computer replied, “No problem.”
Then the system starts playing this song.
Since then, Alexa has been born.
Speaking of Alexa, do you know why a voice assistant calls this name?
Why is It Called Alexa
In November 2014, Amazon released Alexa at the same time as Echo. The name Alexa is inspired by the computer voice and dialogue systems on the Enterprise ship in the science fiction TV series and movies Star Trek: The Original and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The name Alexa was chosen because it has a hard-to-read consonant with X, so it can be identified with higher precision, and the name is also thought of as reminiscent of the Alexander Library.
It seems that naming is also a science! Knowing the origin of the name, let’s talk about how Alexa works.
How does Alexa Work
Take Echo as an example. When Amazon launched the voice assistant Alexa in 2014, Alexa was originally installed on the smart speaker Echo, and Echo itself is a relatively “random” product launched by Amazon without prior publicity. Unexpectedly, Echo was well received, and millions of consumers used smart speakers in their homes.
So Amazon set up two teams, one of which is responsible for continuing to develop Echo series products, such as Echo Spot, Show, Dot, Plus, etc., and the other specializes in Alexa.
Amazon has built a natural language processing system, which is one of the easiest systems we have ever interacted with. A user asks a question or issues a command and usually can be identified by asking it once. Alexa’s success depends in part on several very sensitive microphones built into the Echo device.
The Echo device only streams the user’s voice to the cloud when the user asks Alexa to do something. At the same time, the user’s request is also displayed in the application. If you don’t want to leave a record, you can delete them. The default wake-up word is “Alexa”, but you can change it to “Echo”, “Amazon”, or “Computer”.
Once the user speaks the wake word, the microphone will receive everything you want to say next and transfer it to Amazon’s cloud computer for quick analysis and action.
Does Alexa work on other devices besides smart speakers? Of course! Not only that, but thermostats, cars, and even lights can run Alexa.
How Many Devices is Alexa Connected to
The success of Alexa quickly expanded Amazon’s ambitions. Amazon established a new department, Alexa Voice Services, which is responsible for developing various hardware and software. The purpose of these products is only one: to carry Alexa on everything, from electric fans to light bulbs, refrigerators and even cars.
Priya Abani, the head of the department, said: “Our goal is to enable users to call Alexa no matter where they are and what equipment they use. Our vision is a new world where Alexa is everywhere.”
Amazon basically did it. In a recent media interview, Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, released the latest Alexa data: “To date, the number of smart devices pre-installed with Alexa has exceeded 100 million. ”
Alexa is pre-installed on more than 150 products, including headphones, thermostats, personal computers, cars, and light switches.
More than 28,000 smart home devices from more than 4,500 different manufacturers have partnered with Alexa, and Alexa has over 70,000 skills.
Among these 70,000 skills, in addition to practical skills, Alexa also has some unexpected and fun skills.
What Fun Skills Does Alexa Have
Alexa’s “Meow” function can make a “meow” sound, allowing you to “communicate” with cats easily while playing with the cat.
“Magic 8-Ball” is similar to “Book of Answers”. When you have a question, ask it. This modern version of the classic prophetic toy will give you the answer. Ask any yes or no question and it will tell you “very likely”, “my answer is negative” or some other more obscure answer.
“Geek Humor” When you need a scientific pun, geek humor is ready for jokes. Example: “What shows do cesium and iodine like to watch together?” Answer: “CSI.”
After reading these skills, do the tech giants also want to create their own skills? Don’t worry, this is completely allowed!
How to Create Alexa Skills
Amazon opened Alexa skills development in 2015, and anyone can use the free Alexa Skills Toolkit (ASK) to create Alexa skills. Because Alexa uses Natural Language Programming (NLP), those who want to build a skill need not worry about complex speech recognition. ASK tools also make it easier for novices to use complex NLP ideas.