Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) hopes to tweak its digital assistant, Alexa, to better help it sense users’ moods by picking up on the tone of voice. After launching its first-ever Bluetooth speaker, Amazon Echo, in 2014, Amazon has been eager to secure Alexa’s position in markets because many rival companies have also launched their own versions of voice-powered assistants.
Now, speculation suggests that the company is contemplating the integration of “emotion-detection technology” into Alexa to help it better respond, and cater to users’ requests. While the advent of the company’s virtual assistant has been a hit among its customers, it is evident that Amazon hopes to consistently ramp up Alexa’s capabilities to ensure that it eradicates any threat from rival services such as Siri and Google Home.
An anonymous source familiar with the company’s plans for Alexa revealed that Amazon is currently experimenting with “natural-language-processing” updates. Now, Amazon hopes to teach Alexa a thing or two about human emotions, to allow it to pick up on users’ tones if they are angry, or identity them by their voices, to process their requests to playback songs more efficiently.
Gizmodo sheds light on how the usage of emotion-recognition technology is not uncommon. Modern-day users may have encountered digital assistants with pre-recorded messages when dealing with angry or frustrated users. These messages go along the lines of “I’m sorry, but…”; paving a similar path for Alexa. Even if the digital assistant may not be able to perform the specific task being demanded by its owner, it is possible that the digital assistant will be able to apologize promptly and try clearing up the confusion.
While there is no confirmation about when Alexa may be able to analyze users’ voice-patterns to decode their moods, we believe that such a step will work in favor of the virtual assistant. Given that Alexa may be able to respond to users in a certain manner after keeping their origins in mind, such an update will most definitely be applauded by Alexa’s loyal user-base. For example, Alexa will be able to tell if a user is in a bad mood and offer them an ice-cream or a Domino’s Pizza as part of its 1,000 skills that it has learnt over time.
Even though Alexa-powered devices, such as Echo, Tap, and Dot, are integrated with more than 1,000 “skills”, it seems that the company is slightly nervous about Google’s upcoming Home device which has better translation and voice-recognition capabilities.