Ever feel misunderstood? Don't worry - Alexa feels your pain.

It’s something that some humans can’t even manage to get right, but Amazon Alexa will soon be able to nail it. That’s right – Amazon’s virtual assistant who lives inside the Amazon Echo is going to develop the ability to know if you’re irritated. What’s more, she will even apologise for it.

According to Alexa sources close to MIT, Amazon is already working on using new natural-language processing techniques for Alexa that will give her the novel ability to recognise emotional tone, and apologise for misunderstandings.

And we know all about misunderstandings when it comes to Alexa. Just last week it transpired that the voice assistant had been adding mystery items like ‘white balls’,  ‘dogs’ and ‘hunk of poo’ to users’ shopping lists.

Granted, the latter was added by a user’s pesky kid, but a lot of the time, the comedy items were down to Alexa simply mishearing an instruction. See The Big Fart Happening for more of those gems.

It has to be said, though, most of the time she gets it right. Here’s what happened when we managed to get our hands on an Echo:

MIT’s sources say other improvements are planned too. Apparently Amazon wants Alexa to better communicate by remembering previous conversations and applying that information to future interactions. By using probability techniques, it’s hoped that she will be able to interpret ambiguous requests more accurately.

Let’s say Echo was available in the UK, and you asked, “Alexa, how are the Owls doing?” Alexa might decide that you’re likely to be talking about the Sheffield Wednesday football team because you live in Sheffield

Of course, there’s still no news on whether Echo will be available in the UK any time soon, but you can give Alexa a test drive online here.

  • Story via: MIT