AMAZON HAS released the technology behind its all-conquering Alexa voice assistant, allowing developers to use it in their own creations.
The service, called "Lex", could be used for a whole variety of purposes, but having Amazon at the heart will put it in a powerful position as the race for voice tech hots up.
The use of Lex will help make ‘bots' more friendly and human, as it will have even more to draw on than the existing and somewhat limited lexicon required to deal with Alexa in Amazon Echo devices.
All the data from Lex will be fed into the cloud and assimilated with that generated by Amazon customers to create something even more intelligent.
After first being mooted last December, a software package containing both Lex and Polly, the company's deep learning text-to-speech generator that is charged for by the character, is in preparation.
The problem with any kind of artificial intelligence (AI) is that it needs input to understand the world around it. So for anyone in the business of making AI their business, then the logical thing is to open it up and get as many apps using it as possible, so it has more data sets to work from.
Andy Jassy, head of Amazon Cloud told event-goers in San Francisco: "We're investing a pretty gigantic amount of resources,". You have to spend money to make money, and in this case, it is estimated that Amazon's Alexa business could become a $10bn concern within three years, with half of that coming from sales of Echo speakers, and a further tranche coming from the increased sales that shopping by voice will create.
The aim for Lex will not be to create Alexa devices though. That would defeat the object. The idea will be to create phone automation systems, bots, and other devices that go outside the already wide confines of the living room or car. µ
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