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OPLIN 4cast #562: Is Alexa about to take over our homes? Possibly.

Posted in 4cast, and AI is certainly known as a large internet-based company, but just how massive it’s become may have flown under most people’s radar. For instance, 7.5% of the working-age population of Seattle are Amazon employees. In 2016, an analysis by Slice Intelligence found that 43% of all online retail sales were through Amazon. 1 out of every four adults has Amazon Prime.  Yet, Amazon’s biggest impact may yet be on a newer technology, rather than on online commerce. Amazon’s voice-activated artificial intelligence, Alexa, is making huge strides and is now evolving. Very soon, it’s going to be more places, doing more things than ever before.

  • Watch out Windows, Android, and iOS: Amazon’s Alexa is turning into the next big operating system [ZDNet] “Amazon sells its hardware cheap because making money that way is not (at least for now) its priority. This is a land-grab; whichever company reaches enough homes fast enough will become the effective standard.”
  • Amazon wants you to wake up with Alexa, and that’s just the start [NYTimes] “So far, the results for the Echo have been anything but humiliating. Now, having grown more confident that it understands the fickle market for consumer products, Amazon is making it clear that the Echo and other hardware powered by Alexa, the intelligent assistant behind the devices, present the company with one of its brightest opportunities.”
  • Amazon’s latest Alexa devices ready to extend company’s reach into your home [The Guardian] “‘Voice control in the home will be ubiquitous,’ predicted David Limp, an Amazon senior vice-president who is in charge of the Echo devices, at an event in Seattle on Wednesday. ‘Kids today will grow up never knowing a day they couldn’t talk to their houses.'”
  • Amazon’s Alexa is a real smart home platform now [Fast Company] “Alexa is no longer just a layer of voice controls that supplements other smart home systems such as Samsung SmartThings, Alphabet’s Nest, Philips Hue, and Lowe’s Iris. Instead, it’s becoming a full-blown smart-home platform, replacing many of the functions that those other systems provide. The implication is that Amazon doesn’t want to play a supporting role in smart homes anymore. Instead, it wants a hand in every interaction, even if voice isn’t always involved.”

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