Amazon’s Alexa has crossed a significant milestone, having “hunches” regarding what needs to be done and taking the appropriate action.
As smart assistants become more ubiquitous, a key feature is the ability to predict what a person will want, when they will want it and take preemptive action. This is especially important for Amazon as Alexa’s head scientist, Rohit Prasad, is arguing that AI should be judged based on how helpful it is, rather than the old Turing Test.
According to the company, Alexa now learns about a person’s habits and forms “hunches” about what they want to do. For example, if a person normally turns off a particular light before going to bed, but forget to one night, Alexa can either remind them or automatically turn it off. In contrast, if a person leaves a particular light on, such as a porch light, Alexa will leave it on as well.
Amazon says the new feature will allow Alexa to “proactively turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat, turn down the water heater, or start the robotic vacuum when Alexa has a hunch that everyone is away from home or asleep.”
Users can enable or disable where Alexa proactively acts on the Hunches feature, although it’s a safe bet many customers will enable it.