An Amazon insider has told MIT’s Technology Review that Amazon is gearing up the Echo to enable Alexa to be able to detect your mood. So, for example, if you are in a bad mood when interacting with Alexa, your Echo will detect that and respond accordingly.
In the past year Alexa has learned several new tricks, including being able to order pizza and flowers for you. But mood detection takes Alexa off in a whole new direction.
According to the MIT Technology Review, “A source familiar with the Echo project says Amazon’s researchers are looking at ways to stay ahead of the competition, primarily through a better understanding of a user’s intent. Researchers are exploring new natural-language processing techniques, but also ways to sense the emotion in a person’s voice. ‘How human affect is recognized and then reflected by [Alexa’s] voice will be a key area of [Amazon’s] R&D,’ the source says.”
It should be noted that Alexa already recognizes certain words and phrases that convey discontent. For example, Alexa already recognizes “Shut up” and even “Shut the f*ck up”.
While the above example relies on word recognition, what is different about the announced “mood recognition” is that it incorporates, essentially, voice inflection, along with other aspects of natural language recognition, to recognize that someone is, say, unhappy.
While industry analysts say that Amazon’s primary reason – or at least one of their primary reasons – for heading in this direction is to try to stay ahead of competitors Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), and Google’s recently announced Google Assistant, it can’t be denied that it is also an intriguing use of up and coming natural language recognition technology.
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