What you have asked Alexa last?
“turn on the lights on the Christmas tree”: If I’m on the road, play with my children and I like to play games with each other. We are Christmas fans, now have three Christmas trees at home. And I’m then on the move via a smart outlet.
Dave Limp spy in the home? Amazon Echo-in-chief reveals how much of the Alexa’s on the phone – and how she earns money By Malte Mansholt
you should have some echoes in use.
I have a good dozen at home. So 12 or 13. So, only echoes. If I devices such as FireTVs add other Alexa, it is significantly more.
As Amazon stand Echo for the first Time, I considered it a nice toy. Then it occurred to us that it was the first Computer that our then two-year-old daughter alone was able to operate. A “Generation’s growing control of the language”?
Yes, but not in the Extreme. Children growing up now, first with voice control, also learning to touch-screens and keyboards. Keyboards since the end of the 19th century. Century, they are very good for what they are made to write long texts. And also Touchscreens are very good for your purposes. The voice will be added as a new Interface. And it is – and I think it is now – the new normal state for a Generation.
How does the?
we can see, I have a pretty smart house. And my kids can go in any room of the house and by voice to turn on the lights. For you, this is normal. If you are somewhere else and it doesn’t work, is in their perception of the house broken. The children will be always used to talk to devices and it as a shortcoming not to feel, if that’s okay.
you expect it to be easy.
And you are right. To communicate with voices, we learn of small. We learn it very fast, we are designed. And for a lot of things – not all to type a long document – it is a very natural kind of interaction, more convenient, and faster than others. What attracts users of Alexa and the Echo is most likely the convenient use . It just saves time.
Although we talk on the phone in the subway or the Bar, speaks, hardly anyone in public with a language assistant. It just feels wrong. Is the disappearance of this Stigma at some point?
I think the industry has not yet managed to discover all of the important usage scenarios when it comes to voice control. In the car, navigate, or dictate to you is very natural that everyone understands intuitively. Smartphones and PCs is different. You are not very personally, so a Use in an environment, as we can see Echo. The touch screen has changed how we perceive mobile devices – and it is very optimized. To find things, where language works better for the users is often not so easy, because Apps are designed for touch screens or keyboards.
unlike with Google, or Siri, you can’t give the Alexa App via Chat commands.
You can turn off with Touch lamps, and the like. But you’re right: can’t Chat with you. I give the time to my Team. As an industry we have not yet found on Smartphones is still the killer feature for voice control. In a living room or the kitchen that’s different. There you will find every day new. Because you can use it also in public. I can either open one of the dozens of Smarthome Apps on my phone, the room and the right lamp. But that is not convenient. Or I ask Alexa, which can also stand at the other end of the room and got the same result.
Amazon Echo was the first Computer that is controlled only via language. For this you have to think of the interaction from scratch. What are the biggest hurdles in the development?
voice control for Amazon’s Alexa is not the Brightest – that’s about to change now, at last, Of painted Mans
I get it would not call them obstacles, but rather of individual revelations speak. The first came when we brought the Echo for the first Time to people at home. Acoustic environments in a home – at least in my – simple Chaos. Everywhere is noise, the children running around, someone flushes, it runs music and Alexa must understand nevertheless. So we had to learn to work in such a difficult acoustic environments.
What was the second lesson?
The second was the latency. The users accept during voice control, no delay. And in the beginning was immense. We used as a Test is always the question of time. And Alexa is needed each Time throughout the 6 to 8 seconds.
As we then came out of the lab quickly became clear: The the user with. We had to optimize the whole Cloud reaction. In the meantime, we are here in under 1.5 seconds, and be faster.
What was missing?
third, it became clear to us that people wanted to take Alexa as a friend, she needed a personality. This realization also led to the name Alexa – the way to implement as the activation word is much harder than other variants, such as, for example, “Hey Amazon” or “OK Amazon”. Here, it was not a blessing that we came from a Smartphone, and a System had. The personality of Alexa’s would otherwise never have been implemented.
Distinguishes the Alexa Siri and Google’s Assistant?
Because of the personality, Alexa’s is so important, it may also have opinions and preferences. Something that most wizards can’t do that. Imagine a Dinner Party without opinions, it would be totally boring. Ask Alexa about easy times, what is your favorite beer.
What is it in the choice of an activation word, exactly?
In the case of activation words, two things are important: The word should be phonetically best in the language – what is the name Alexa in many languages the case – and it takes many hard consonants. For example, “X”, as in Alexa. “K” is also good, as in “OK” or “Y” as in “Hey”. If you have a longer word, it doesn’t exist in the language and a lot of hard consonants has a good activation word.
Alexa is so difficult. This made more work?
Because Alexa is found in many languages and, for example, such as “I Like you” sounds, we had at the beginning, therefore, oodles of false activations. In the meantime, the has improved enormously.
Is the number of syllables is also important? Most of the activation of the words have three syllables.
the syllables are not, scientifically speaking, is actually so important, as you would suspect. It is a little, but the two aspects mentioned above, it helps ind much more important.
speech recognition is more than just words to understand, you must recognize what you want from her. How to train an Artificial intelligence to be emphatic?
The first step is to send the voice recording in the Cloud and in the Text. This works well, so all of the 100-200 words a word is ever lost. Then a program for the recognition of natural language is, including the still existing errors and attempt an Interpretation on the Basis of machine Learning and a myriad of data sets with known commands. It is often then eliminated the error. So you can get an estimate of what the user wants to, divided in terms of Intent and other meta data. About: We believe that you have “game music” I said, and that is the desire, the Musical Hamilton.
how did Alexa know that she is right?
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we Take another example of Christmas music. Even then it can still be a lot of room. The music part may have been incomprehensible, it is also a Film that could be meant. The command “play” may eventually mean much. We send our Interpretation to any amount of interfaces, often including a number of third-party Skills -that suggest a variant of what could be done and how, that’s probably the correct answer. And then Alexa takes the statistically most likely option. All of this is happening in 1.5 seconds. And then you tell the program whether that is right or wrong, and trained it to be so.
As they came as a Hardware-in-chief to Amazon, there was only the Kindle. In the fall they have introduced a microwave with Alexa support. This was a natural development?
no, I didn’t see it coming that we will build at some point a microwave. It was a development that was influenced by many things. The important thing was to secure customer Feedback. But also experiments, some of which were successful and others not. And also of luck. We had in some cases just the luck, the right product, at the right time. And then the Failure there is, of course, you can often learn more from the Successes. All of this ensured that the basic idea has been strengthened.
What idea is that?
to build, Not only Gadgets. We want to build consumer electronics, in which various services are deeply integrated not only our, but also in others – for example, in the case of Streaming music, where we support several services. This is only because we are Cloud-based. Our products continue to receive Updates and new content, we will support even the Original Kindle from 2007 still.
In the case of Smartphones, lack of Updates are a real Problem. So far, all bottom echoes will support the latest Features. Will be left out of the first Echo at some point in the Updates?
Yes, I think so – eventually. But not in the foreseeable future. We are not like traditional industry, that we need to constantly sell new devices. Most of the electronics companies to earn the money when you sell the product. So our business doesn’t work. We make money when the customers use the devices. We sell virtually to the production. As a result, we have no incentive to bring in every two years, the customer to Upgrade, but have high incentives to preserve the existing devices with new Features on the life.
It may not always be the latest model.
We are pleased, therefore, when customers buy today, Echo Dot, and then ten years of use. All of our units, whether fire TV, Fire Tablets, and the Dash Button, Echo or Kindle follow this very basic principle.
If the usage will bring and how exactly the Echo earns the money then?
The most obvious Form of Amazon Music. In Germany, the delivery from the beginning very well, worldwide, it was hardly on the screen. Now, Amazon Music is the third largest provider in the world. Contributes to this success Echo certainly. Also Audible is running great on the Echo. Alexa there’s also the FireTV, since Prime Video runs very well. And then there is, of course, Shopping.
Amazon’s specialty. How is this implemented on the Echo?
so Far, especially the voice-controlled Management of shopping lists and repeat orders. But it will, with time, sure wider. Every Time a customer stands in the kitchen and it Echo around is more convenient, dog food to order, is the another way to monetize Echo. There’s more, but it is also important that Echo is a catalyst for the Smart home-use.
How? People buy Smarthome accessory, because they have an Echo?
We have long believed that the development happens at the same time, but in the meantime, we are sure, that there is a causal relationship. People buy so smart bulbs and sockets, thermostats, cameras, and all that. Not all buy it at Amazon but it is a part. And it’s worth it for us.
according to Reports, hardly anyone used the Echo to go shopping. Are you satisfied with the sales on Echo?
We’re here started really well. I always take what the press says and what we know with a pinch of caution. It is really a good place to Start. You can not even order anything. This is a challenge that brings language. We have hundreds of over hundreds of over hundreds of millions of products. The music is simple. Since there are 40 million songs, fewer artists, fewer still albums. In the case of Shopping, a lot more depends on that. You have to match size, cut, color, brand and many other metadata. But I am very positive. The Shopping, the there are already, the re-orders, shopping lists, all run very well.
to take on the Echo data collected at some point in the case of advertising incorporated with additional profits?
no. We have about 10,000 employees who work only on Alexa and not one of them works in advertising.
And how to use Amazon data?
When you shop about Alexa, then this data is fed back for Shopping recommendations on Amazon. As long as you keep your shopping profile and does not delete, it could then be proposed, for example, the same dog-food-variety. But there is no specific Echo data which are included here.
The Germans because of their history with the Stasi and the Gestapo in the area of data very sensitive.
And the you should also. To me it is very important to emphasize here a Nuance: people think that advertising is always the Same it was for sale. But we only sell advertising, bei Amazon people who sell on Amazon, so within a closed system. We have never – and will never – more, these data externally. We use it internally, to provide Features that help our customers recommendations are just one example. But we do not sell this data.
Angela Merkel has stressed that she wants to see the people not as a data resource is reduced. The fear is something you can solve with technology?
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The Holt I believe is a social Problem. Should we not all wasting time, constantly on a six-inch piece of glass to stare. Sometimes my family has the need to do that and then I don’t need to point out that we want to have dinner or a movie prefer to look together. I don’t like about Echo is that it is Intrusive. You can hear music together and not sitting with headphones in the corner.
It was more important for me that some companies seem to be the man as a pure data-cattle to see, and not as a customer.
We have been around since the beginning the need to leave the customer in control of their data. You can delete his Shopping history. In the case of Alexa and the Echo it is the same. We like to have access to – encrypted securely – stored Echo-requests, because it makes the Service better, the machine Learning works better. But you can delete everything.
Each Echo-owner has a complete collection of all the questions. You said that the Audio requests are encrypted. Amazon has access to it?
There are very few people at Amazon who can come to these requests. It is, however, very restricted, you must obtain a lot of permits. Mostly we use it for requests for assistance of the customer itself in customer service.
And what happens when the national authorities have an interest in the records?
we only emphasize again that only will be saved, what follows after the word “Alexa”. Everything else can already connect to no one again – because it exists. Nothing is stored on the device and it is not sent to the Cloud. What is then actually stored, you can delete it at any time. If you delete the data, has no one access to it. Data should be saved, and we receive a valid court order, what happens in the USA more frequently, it is known that we fight against it.
But in the end you give in?
Should it be a legitimate request, we have to give the data free. We do not break the law. But it is the last resort. And, the persons Concerned should delete the data in the meantime, they would be already gone and not recoverable.
In the United States is currently being discussed controversially, whether the Tech companies in the government and the military to provide technical assistance. While Google einstampfte the program after protests, assured Microsoft the Pentagon’s full support. Also, Amazon has offered the customs authority ICE facial recognition software.
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in General, we believe at Amazon, that Innovation should be used for the Good. We don’t want to, however, also developments by governments. The Cloud is a very important invention. And you will be around to save the world taxpayers ‘ money, because it is efficient. This is also why you should be – like other technologies – available to the States. How to use it, but then, we need to keep an eye on. We live in a democracy and people should check the politicians and their Actions, and rate. With Amazon, you should have been doing the same thing.
But we want to say as well, that governments have the opportunity to use our technology. Would you refuse in retrospect, governments Computer? Were Computer of governments for evil things be abused? With Safety And Security. Nevertheless, we believe that, in General, you should not stop the technical progress.
Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk fought a very public dispute about the dangers of AI, and the question of whether it should regulate. They see themselves as KI-Optimist or Pessimist?
I’m generally an Optimist, and also in terms of KI. In my view, most of the inventions have been a good way to use and have proven their value to society a hundred-fold, such as modern medicine has increased our life expectancy in the last hundred years, drastically. Of course you can manufacture bad drugs and KI for evil purposes. This is not a question, so something is going to happen. Broadly considered, it will bring us more.
Also, as an Optimist you need to be prepared for hazards. You should not set limits?
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It is very difficult, the limits predict. But we are in a consortium with IBM, in order to clarify the ethics of AI. It is a difficult undertaking, because we need to agree on Computer-science with ethics and morality, but it is, in my view, very healthy for the industry to ponder.
Alexa was the first to listen to learned to see. When she learns to run?
Running is hard. We have a conference to Machines, automation, robotics, and space (MARS), and every year there are also a running robot. But I’ve never seen one with Alexa. But that is going to happen. I don’t know when, but it will happen. Probably, but it will still take a bit.