Amazon.com said the artificial-intelligence and speech-recognition software that underpins its digital assistant Alexa is now available to all its cloud-computing customers.
Amazon.com said Wednesday that the artificial intelligence and speech-recognition software that underpins its digital assistant Alexa is now available to all its cloud-computing customers.
The service, dubbed “Lex,” had been unveiled in December at a major cloud-computing conference organized by Amazon but was not yet widely available.
It highlights one of the ways in which Amazon plans to make money off its big investment in the Alexa technology, a platform that analysts with RBC Capital Markets believe could eventually bring up to $10 billion in revenue by the end of the decade.
Other ways include selling devices — such as the Echo line of speakers — that are compatible with the voice- activated digital assistant, or having customers purchase items off Amazon’s site by talking to Alexa.
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Amazon’s Lex service will allow developers to make conversational applications that rely on the speech-recognition and deep learning tools that animate Alexa. That means they don’t have to reinvent the wheel as they explore the use of voice-activated interfaces, which experts say could be the future of computing.
Amazon had a head start in the field with the success of the Echo, a cylindrical speaker inhabited by Alexa. But it’s a field in which the e-commerce giant is facing stiffening competition, with Microsoft and Google having platforms of their own.
At an event Wednesday in San Francisco, Andy Jassy, the head of Amazon’s cloud- computing unit, said that machine learning and artificial intelligence are still in the early stages but are clearly a key target for the company. “We’re investing a pretty gigantic amount of resources,” he said.
That investment goes into building robust cloud capabilities both for the very advanced developers who are creating new models of artificial intelligence, as well as for more advanced tools such as Lex that allow other types of software makers to create applications for customers.