Amazon’s big hardware event isn’t all about hardware — although there is plenty of that, too. Amazon also talked about how it’s making its virtual assistant Alexa smarter and more intuitive about human behavior, particularly when there are lots of connected smart home devices to tap into.
Amazon announced at the event Thursday a feature called Alexa Hunches, a new feature that allows the virtual assistant to follow cues about a user’s behavior and make suggestions. This all starts with a deep neural network that allows Amazon to understand and learn behavior.
For now, “Hunches” is focused on the smart home because connected devices like smart lights or security cameras give Alexa the data it needs to make the kind of judgment calls the human brain is capable of. For instance, a user might say “Good night, Alexa” or “Alexa, set an alarm.” And Alexa, which has heard these commands daily, will tap into all that behavioral data and follow a hunch. Alexa might respond with something like, “Hey, I think that you left the porch light on, would you like me to turn it off?”
Amazon has been testing hunches in the lab and expects to roll out the feature later this year. The hunches feature will learn and improve over time.