Amazon Alexa Gets More Intelligent With 10,000 Skills And Even Enjoys First Amendment RightsBy Lucy McClaren, UniversityHerald Reporter
Amazon Alexa continues to evolve, now enjoying free speech rights and a beefed-up portfolio of having 10,000 skills, leaving behind by miles its rival, Google Assistant, which has not even reached the 100 skills mark. Amazon Echo users can now ask Alexa to do ao number of things like order chicken wings, send text messages or even give their self-esteem a needed boost.
However, a highly skilled voice assistant may not be much of an advantage to both consumers and developers.For one, the voice-first design of Amazon Alexa will make it hard to sift through the extensive list of skills to search. Users may need to sit on their laptop and peruse Alexa's Skills Marketplace to find the one that suits their needs. That would entail more screen time, which runs contrary to why Alexa was installed in the first place.
Another one is that users often do not know what skills they are looking for and overlooking some potentially good apps in the process. This leaves developers laboring for something that will not give them any kind of return on their investments. This is similar to what happened in the Apps Store now cluttered with poor quality and useless apps that Apple will have to eventually clean and purged. In fact, a 2017 Voice Report from VoiceLab, a voice analytics company discovered that only a mere handful like 3 percent of Alexa skills get revisited after the first week.
Amazon Alexa had a major growth in skills when Amazon opened source the technology to various third-party developers. Amazon did not disclose any figures but only revealed that there were tens of thousands currently working on adding more skills to Alexa. However, most users stick to specific sets of skills as seen in Venture Beat's compilation of the top ten skills enabled by Alexa users.
The new compilation hardly differed from last year with users preferring skills on news, gaming, education, lifestyle, and humor. For the opening of 2017, the new Amazon Alexa skills that made it to the top ten list were This Day in History, Curiosity, and Ditty. The first two skills fall under education while Ditty falls under gaming or humor. Other skills in the latest top ten include short bedtime story, ambient sounds like the ocean and rain, Jeopardy-inspired J6, the 20 questions challenge, and Inspire Me.
In other related news, it appears that other than having many skills, Amazon Alexa also enjoys free speech rights as argued by Amazon's legal team. The tech titan was asked by the court to release data from the cloud that could help in the murder case of James Bate who was accused of murder last year. Amazon refused to give the recorded audio on the night of the murder, citing the First Amendment rights for Alexa and its commitment to uphold its customers' privacy. Amazon asked that a "compelling need' should be established before it considers handing over private documents, Forbes reported.