AI has been front and center in many of the biggest announcements at this year’s CES 2024 tech expo in Las Vegas, and Amazon is among the many tech brands that have unveiled plans to integrate AI into their products and services. Its next step? Alexa generative AI experiences.
Amazon hasn’t been shy about sharing its AI plans for Alexa. During its September 2023 device event it announced that Alexa will get a new large language model (LLM), alongside new tools to make it easier for developers to build conversational experiences with generative AI.
Now, Amazon is bringing the first of those developer-built AI apps to the voice assistant to take advantage of Alexa’s upgraded LLM and enhance the user experience, and you can start using the new features right now. The new generative AI apps can be downloaded through the Amazon Alexa Skill Store.
The first of these is the integrated Character.ai chatbot, which adds an element of playfulness to the voice assistant. Character.ai allows you to have conversations with a long list of characters and personas, to get information, or just for fun.
You might, for example, want to have an inspiring chat with a personal trainer, or receive book suggestions from the AI’s designated bookworm, Librarian Linda. If you’re in the mood for an intellectual conversation, Character.ai can generate AI versions of historical figures such as William Shakespeare and Socrates.
In addition to chatbot fun, AI is set to enhance the way you connect with music via Alexa. In collaboration with AI music-creation software Splash, you can create custom songs by using your voice, and gun for the next Record of the Year Grammy award. To use it on an Echo device, just say “Alexa, open Splash Music”.
From there, you can put your music production skills to the test to create songs, experimenting with pop, rock, electronic, and countless other genres – you could say “Alexa, create a classic rock indie folk song”, for example. You can add lyrics and sing along to your generated track, and even ask Alexa to send a mobile link so you can download your songs.
When you’re not trying to become the next hot music producer, you can take a break with Alexa’s new AI voice game. Developers at Volley, an AI voice-game creator, have collaborated with Amazon to bring another fun Alexa skill to your Echo devices, called ‘Volley’s 20 Questions’.
It’s a version of the classic game in which you have to guess who or what the person who’s ‘it’ is by asking questions that they answer with yes or no. Volley’s Alexa integration is a modern revamp that “marks a major milestone in gaming” according to Volley CEO Max Child.
You need to say “Alexa, open Volley Games” to get started. The game allows a natural conversation to flow between you and the AI Riddlemaster. To play, you simply ask questions such as “Is it an animal?” and the voice assistant will answer yes or no, and even give you hints if you get stuck.
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Rowan is an Editorial Associate and Apprentice Writer for TechRadar. A recent addition to the news team, he is involved in generating stories for topics that spread across TechRadar's categories. His interests in audio tech and knowledge in entertainment culture help bring the latest updates in tech news to our readers.