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Amazon is preparing for Alexa's second wave, but it's struggling

Amazon is preparing for Alexa's second wave, but it's struggling


Hello and welcome to Eye on AI.

Before ChatGPT could talk, there was Alexa, but Amazon's decade-old voice assistant never reached its full potential, being good only for things like setting a kitchen timer and telling you the weather.

But now that it can take full advantage of generative AI, Amazon is turning its attention to the second act of Alexa. The company plans to overhaul and launch a more conversational version of Alexa later this year, sources told CNBC. In addition to new AI-powered generation and improved features, Amazon will be introducing a new business model for Alexa. Alexa is not included in your company's Prime subscription and requires its own monthly subscription.

Alexa has so far outshone voice assistant competitors like Apple's Siri and Google Assistant, but the recent steady release of powerful generative AI-powered chatbots has revealed the field as a new up-and-coming area. Amazon says it has already sold more than 500 million Alexa-enabled devices, which could give the company an advantage.

At the same time, Amazon hasn't exactly presented itself as an AI disruptor: While the company is certainly supporting the AI ​​boom through Amazon Web Services and has invested billions in and worked with AI startup Anthropic, it hasn't released any advanced AI models that would put it in the same space as OpenAI, Google, or Meta.

Alexa with generative AI could be Amazon's chance to not only realize Alexa's true vision, but also to finally ride the AI ​​boom. But the company faces real challenges. The company's lag in AI, the technical hurdles and rising computing costs plaguing the industry, and the fierce competition from other tech giants vying to provide the best AI assistant experience.

Despite recent controversy over ChatGPT's Scarlett Johansson-esque voice, OpenAI got its feet under the ground last week, demoing the latest version of its product. Google also rolled out voice support for its Gemini model. And at its annual developer conference next month, Apple is expected to unveil a new, more conversational, generative version of Siri powered by AI. While Apple faces many of the same challenges as Amazon regarding its AI position, the company is reportedly in talks with Google to bring its flagship Gemini model to the iPhone.

Many of us had visions of what a powerful assistant could be, but were held back by the underlying technology's inability to achieve that goal, says Google CEO Sander. Pichai spoke on this week's Decoder podcast. I think we have the technology to provide that better. That's why we're seeing progress again. I think that's exciting.

If successful, these products could completely change the way we interact with technology, get information, organize our lives, and use products and services. The New York Times reported that Apple executives are concerned that new AI technology could replace the iPhone's iOS software, threatening its dominance in the smartphone market. An ecosystem of AI agents could eliminate the need for apps and app stores.

That's exactly the future wearable maker Human was betting on with Ai Pin, but it was still a long way off. Ai Pin was designed to speak out loud to the person wearing it and handle many of the same tasks as Alexa and Siri, but it didn't work. Gadget critic Marques Brownlee called it the worst product I've ever reviewed, but yesterday Bloomberg reported that after a rocky product launch, Human It was reported that it is being considered.

The dream of finally having a true AI assistant feels closer than ever, but at the same time it still feels very far away. In her OpenAI demo last week, Sky sounded very much like a real human, both in her voice and in her answers to questions (and as always, remember that demos can only be trusted to a point). important to keep). But sounding like a real human is only half the battle. These models are still limited by the fact that they are always reliably wrong. As I continue to test ChatGPT, I am appalled at how consistently it is wrong. I feel like I can't trust those words.

“I wonder if intelligence is increasing at the same rate as language ability is increasing,” Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge, told Pichai in a conversation with Decoder. “To be honest, I don't think so. I see computers becoming much more capable of language, and in some cases even stupider.”

So, here's some more news about AI.

Sage [email protected]

AI in the News

News Corp signs content deal with OpenAI. The companies did not disclose terms, but News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal reported that the deal could be worth more than $250 million over five years, including compensation in the form of cash and credits for the use of OpenAI's technology. The partnership will allow OpenAI to use content from News Corp's consumer news publications to train models and answer users' ChatGPT inquiries. News Corp owns Barrons, MarketWatch, New York Post, The Daily Telegraph and many other publications around the world. The list of publishers that have deals with OpenAI continues to grow, including Axel Springer, Associated Press, Financial Times, Dotdash Meredith and Le Monde, but this deal is perhaps the most significant to date, if only in terms of the number of properties included.

Microsoft and G42 invest $1 billion in geothermal data center in Kenya. This effort is part of Microsoft's efforts to expand cloud services to East Africa, which also includes the East Africa Innovation Lab, local language AI model development and research, investments in connectivity, and collaboration with governments. Abu Dhabi-based G42, in which Microsoft invested $1.5 billion last month, will work with partners to design and build the data center, according to Reuters. The companies say the facility will run entirely on renewable geothermal energy and will be designed using cutting-edge water-saving technology.

Nvidia reported a 262% increase in revenue, indicating continued strong performance on AI. The company, which makes the highly popular H100 GPU needed to run today's most advanced AI models, posted better-than-expected quarterly sales and profits on Tuesday. It also reported that its data center category, which includes AI chips in particular, had record quarterly sales, bringing in his $22.6 billion, up 427% year over year. The company gave a strong outlook for the current quarter, predicting second-quarter sales of $28 billion.

Colorado reluctantly passed the first comprehensive state AI law. The law requires developers of high-risk AI systems to take reasonable care to avoid algorithmic discrimination and to disclose information about their systems to regulators and the public. The governor signed the bill into law on Monday, but explicitly asked the Legislature to replace the law with national regulations before it goes into effect in 2026, according to the National Law Review. As Ive reported, states are wary of regulating AI individually and are eagerly pushing for federal regulation.

Crimes using AI can lead to arrests and prosecutions. A political consultant who admitted to deepfaking Joe Biden's voice in robocalls to voters in New Hampshire has been indicted on five charges, including bribery, intimidation and oppression, according to NBC News. The FBI also arrested a man this week who allegedly used stable distribution to generate thousands of CSAM (child sexual abuse material) images, 404 Media reported. He then used the images to cultivate his online community of like-minded criminals and even sent material to minors. This marks the first known case in which the FBI has charged someone with using AI to create his CSAM. On this subject, MIT Technology Review also just published a great article outlining his five ways criminals use AI.

AI's luck

Privacy regulator asks Microsoft about Windows' Recall AI feature David Meyer

ByteDance, Alibaba and Baidu offer their models at ultra-low prices, intensifying the race to lead China's AI sector – Lionel Lim

How PwC is using a small group of volunteer super users to increase employee engagement with AI Emma Burleigh

How companies can keep adding technologies like AI without suffering from change fatigue Cheryl Estrada

Do you have a calendar?

May 29-31: 2024 GenAI Summit in San Francisco

June 5: FedScoops FedTalks 2024 in Washington, DC

June 25-27: 2024 IEEE Artificial Intelligence Conference (Singapore)

July 15-17: Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Park City, Utah (register here)

July 30-31: Fortune Brainstorming AI Singapore (register here)

August 12th-14th: Ai4 2024 in Las Vegas

Focus on AI numbers: 1 million

Dubai plans to train this many human AI teleprompters over the next three years as part of a larger training plan, according to Khaleej Times. Dubai leaders announced the program this week, saying that while coding was once in demand, teleprompter engineering has become one of the most promising skills. The initiative, called “One Million Teleprompters,” is being launched as part of the Dubai Artificial Intelligence Universal Blueprint, the country's AI-advancing roadmap.




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