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Amazon’s Alexa is getting smarter, can now understand follow-up questions

by Brandon Russell | December 29, 2016December 29, 2016 3:00 pm PDT


Multiple reports claim Amazon has quietly improved the capabilities of Alexa, the company’s artificial intelligence baked into devices like the Echo and Echo Dot. Similar to Google Assistant, Alexa can now understand follow-up queries, making the technology appear more conversational.

Although Alexa supports thousands of skills, the AI hasn’t been particularly adept at understanding contextual questions. Previously, if you were to ask Alexa a question and then follow that up with another one, she would struggle to provide an answer.

Now, if you are to ask Alexa who the President of the United States is and then ask how old he is in two separate queries, she’ll be able to answer. Users on Reddit first noticed Alexa’s improvements and Android Police has also apparently conducted its own tests.

Alexa’s contextual capabilities still appear relatively rudimentary, but the AI is slowly getting smarter. In addition to controlling your myriad of smart home devices, you’ll soon be able to hold full blown conversations with the assistant.

Still not as good as Google Assistant

Because of Google’s expansive knowledge graph, Google Assistant is still the superior AI—and the technology is quickly getting smarter thanks to the addition of new skills. Alexa is still ahead based on sheer reach and consumer volume, but it will have to continue improving if it wants to stay ahead.

Reddit AndroidPolice

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...