Could robot Amazon Alexas be just around the corner?

Josh Hall's picture
by Josh Hall

In order to achieve its full potential, Amazon’s Alexa technology must eventually be given a ‘human’ body.

This is according to Alexa head scientist Rohit Prasad, who says he wants to give the smart assistant a physical form so that it can roam around in the real world.

Speaking at the EmTech Digital AI Conference in San Franciso, Prasad said: “The only way to make a smart assistant really smart is to give it eyes and let it explore the world.”

Giving Alexa or other smart assistants a physical body with which they could move around relatively freely is considered a major potential step in improving the quantity and quality of data that these tools can gather.

If Alexa can move around in the world, the theory goes, then it can better understand how its human users behave in reality, and can record real-world information more accurately.

It can then use this information to make better recommendations and answer queries more effectively.

It’s thought that Amazon is already working on something in this realm. Last year it materialised that the retail and tech giant was aggressively hiring for an ongoing project related to a robot intended for home assistance, codenamed ‘Vesta’.

In April 2018 Bloomberg reported that Amazon was hoping to place Vestas in some employees’ homes by the end of that year.   

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