The new skills are part of a bigger change to the Alexa ecosystem including a new version of the voice assistant coming later this year built on a large language model. This is the same technology that powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Alexa isn’t the only voice assistant getting a large language model upgrade. All of the big voice assistant providers are integrating large language models.
Apple is rumored to be working towards a WWDC launch for Siri 2.0 and Google is close to releasing a version of Assistant with Bard integrated. Even OpenAI is looking to launch ChatGPT as a voice assistant.
What are the new Alexa AI skills?
In September last year, Amazon gave developers the ability to add large language model-based experiences to their own Alexa skills. The first of those are now ready to be used.
All of the new generative AI skills first warn the user it makes use of artificial intelligence and responses can’t be guaranteed as accurate. However, they’re easy to access and even easier to use once enabled.
Character.ai is the most high-profile of the new skills. The chatbot platform lets you interact with fictional characters, parodies of real people or your creations. Users can hold real-time, fully immersive conversations with the persona.
Some of the pre-built characters include Librarian Linda who can help with book selection or a personal trainer to get you moving. To access the skill just say “Alexa, open Character.ai.”
Asking 20 questions
The second of three new skills is from Voice AI game developer Volley. It has unveiled a new 20-question game that uses generative AI to interact with users. It can answer a range of questions or offer up hints when a player gets stuck.
Volley already makes several popular Voice AI products including Song Quiz and the Price is right but this is the first built using a large language model. It allows for open-ended conversations with the quizmaster and more engaged gameplay. This is available by saying “Alexa, open Volley Games”.
Making music with AI
Finally, Splash lets users create a song from scratch using nothing but their voice. They can pick a musical genre, describe what they want to hear and then sit back and wait. Simply say “Alexa, open Slash Music”.
I tried it out and it generates the track in seconds. You can then customize the track with lyrics, a rap or adding additional instruments. You can even ask it to include a big bass drop. The AI can then send it to the Alexa app on your phone to download or share.
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Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover.
When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?