Alexa will soon answer questions you haven't even asked yet

Amazon says its voice assistant will infer the "latent goals" of its users.

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest
Chris Monroe/CNET

According to a new Amazon blog post, the Alexa voice assistant will do something new: offer follow-up questions or suggestions that predict your "latent goals."

While the feature is new, regular Alexa users might not be surprised to hear about it. Amazon has slowly been rolling out "hunches" for over a year -- a feature that enables Alexa to predict what home devices you may want to toggle at various times. These prompts, such as to lock your door as you switch off the lights at night, are now being expanded into a more general context. With Alexa's new predictions, you may ask how long to steep tea, only for Alexa to offer to set a timer after answering.

This move comes as Amazon continues to develop its vision of the "ambient home," in which a voice assistant doesn't simply operate as a remote control, but also as a predictive and in some cases proactive administrator of a connected home environment. The feature also comes on the heels of the "natural turn-taking" (or give-and-take conversation) Amazon announced in September.

Read more about Alexa's latest features, and all the hardware the tech giant is releasing this fall.

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