Amazon is preparing to greatly enhance Alexa’s computational abilities in a series of future feature updates.
In the first of three planned updates, a new feature called ‘Skills Arbitration’ will allow Alexa to automatically find and take advantage of third-party skills to help users with their queries. For instance, say an Echo user asks Alexa how to remove an oil stain from their shirt, the personal assistant will call on the Tide Stain Remover skill to help, even if the user had no previous knowledge of the skill.
The second update will improve Alexa’s ‘Context Carryover’ capabilities. Essentially, once Amazon updates Alexa, the personal assistant will be able to better handle follow-up questions, particularly ones that don’t include pronouns. For example, Alexa will be able to handle a question chain like “What’s the weather in Vancouver?” followed by, “How about tomorrow?”
Lastly, Amazon plans to improve Alexa’s recall abilities. Moving forward, Alexa users will be tell the personal assistant to remember specific tidbits of information like birthdays. Afterwards, Alexa will be able to recall that information when users ask for it.
According to Ruhi Sarikaya, the author of the blog post and director of applied science for Alexa machine learning, the final update is the “First of many launches this year that will make Alexa more personalized.”
Canadians will have to wait to try out Alexa’s new enhancements here in Canada, however.
Amazon plans to launch the Skills Arbitration and memory enhancements in in the U.S. first. The improvements to Alexa’s follow-up capabilities will see a more global rollout, with the U.K. and Germany, in addition to the U.S., included in the initial rollout.