Amazon’s Alexa gets new generative AI-powered experiences

Among the slew of CES announcements this week, it should be no surprise to anyone that generative AI is a major theme from tech companies this year, including Volkswagen, Nvidia and (of course) Amazon.

In September 2023, Amazon announced to developers that it would be launching new tools to build LLM-powered experiences. Today, the company revealed three developers delivering new generative AI-powered Alexa experiences, including AI chatbot platform Character.AI, AI music company Splash and Voice AI game developer Volley. All three experiences are available in the Amazon Alexa Skill Store.

Character.AI’s new experience enables Alexa users to have real-time conversations with different personas, such as a fictional character called Librarian Linda, a personal trainer or even pretend-versions of historical figures like Socrates.

Image Credits: Character.AI

Meanwhile, Splash launched a free Alexa Skill where users can create songs using their voice. To start, users say, “Alexa, open Splash Music,” and then they pick a musical genre (pop, electronic, rock or hip hop), add lyrics and either rap or sing along. Users can also download their custom songs by asking Alexa to send a link to their mobile phones.

Volley introduced its generative AI-powered “20 Questions” game, giving Alexa users a modern version of the well-known game. The game uses generative AI to interact with users by asking them questions, providing hints and explaining “yes or no questions” if the human opponent gets stuck.

Image Credits: Volley

Amazon has made many AI-related enhancements to Alexa in recent months, including a new generative AI model to give the virtual assistant a more opinionated personality and the ability to adjust its tone and response to express human emotions like excitement or surprise. The tech giant also released a kids-focused feature on Echo devices called “Explore with Alexa,” where Amazon Kids+ subscribers can have kid-friendly conversations, learn fun facts and answer trivia questions.

Other Amazon announcements at CES include bringing Fire TV to Panasonic’s new smart TVs in 2024, Matter Casting support on Fire TV and Echo Show 15 devices, the latest generation of robotaxi Zoox and more.

Updated 1/10/24 at 9:10 a.m. ET with changes to Character.AI’s list of characters– Elon Musk, William Shakespeare, Mario and Princess Peach are only available on the native app, not Alexa. 

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