Alexa will someday have an opinion on Movies, TV shows, and more

If you ask Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant what the best movie is, it currently checks IMDB ratings and gives you an answer. While that can be useful information, it’s not necessarily going to help you pick something to watch. If you ask for song recommendations, Alexa will use your past listening habits to find similar music you may like. That’s better than simply playing the top Billboard song, but not as good as asking a friend what they’ve been listening to lately to discover new music. Amazon is working on making Alexa more interesting to talk to, and in turn more useful, by giving it its own opinion on things that is not purely based on general popularity or your own habits.

If you ask Alexa what its favorite beer is, it currently responds with “definitely Budweiser.” According to Amazon Fire TV VP Marc Whitten, who spoke with TechCrunch, that response is an example of Alexa having its own opinion, meaning the response was not curated by humans. With Alexa continuing to expand into more countries, Whitten says “you can’t editorialize opinion on everything. That doesn’t work. The ambitious goal is that you don’t have to do [human curation].”

A far too familiar livingroom scenario for many of us is spending more time looking for something to watch than actually watching content. Having an opinionated voice assistant to query in home entertainment scenarios would be far more useful than one that simply dictates what’s popular.

With Amazon expected to release a new Fire TV later this year that has a built-in speaker and microphones for Alexa, it’s easy to see the scenario that Amazon is working towards. Instead of picking up the remote and endlessly browsing lists to find something to watch, you’d just ask Alexa to pick. Mixing in genuine opinion, even if it’s generated through machine learning and deep learning networks, should give Alexa more interesting choices.

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5 comments
  1. Jay says:

    I’m guessing there will be the opportunity for companies to pay Amazon so that Alexa’s “opinions” will favor that company’s products/movies/TV shows/music. Yes, I’m pretty cynical!

  2. Itzme says:

    I wonder what all the revenue opportunities would be to add Rotten Tomatoes. And How much would RT charge? Plus I’d like to be able to use that skill. Sometimes I wonder if RT gets creatively “rigged” too.

  3. Emric says:

    …if you ever wondered why big enterprises put so much money into voice control.

    I get the notion. They want to be your companion in daily life, so convenient that you don’t think about “manually” gathering information anymore. While they are at it, they will sell you stuff and influence you accordingly. Who knew Amazon Inc. isn’t just there to make your life more convenient?..

    Yes, I am a cynic too. Not. Just thinking straight.

  4. rocky says:

    So the dumbing-down of the citizenry continues. Schools don’t teach you to how gather data, organize it, and think through to a conclusion, and make a decision, they only indoctrinate you on what is proper thinking/speaking/doing. Now Big Corp and the dark state want to complete the process by making it too easy to go along to get along, to not risk independent thought or action, to fit in and be “normal”, to not bother being curious or investigative, to not use initiative or your own experience for developing a different way to go or do, and in the process slip in the “right” biases. Let Big Brother, the computer that we have all been told can do it better and faster, do it for you.
    Although it would be a mite cooler if it could be programmed to answer to “computer”.

  5. Craig Wilson says:

    I hope not.

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