Amazon Upgrades Alexa With More Natural Conversation Powered by AI

Amazon calls this AI-enhanced Alexa feature Let's Chat.

Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
Expertise Google, Internet Culture
Imad Khan
2 min read
Amazon Echo Show 8 on a countertop with pitcher, mug, bowl of fruit

Amazon shows off the new Echo Show 8 with greater AI conversational capabilities.


Amazon showed off AI-enhanced conversational abilities on its Alexa line of smart home devices allowing you to have more natural back-and-forths, the company said in a press conference on Wednesday. 

Called Let's Chat, the feature is intended to make Alexa sound more natural and responsive. Currently, when speaking to smart home devices, there's often a delay between the question asked and the answer given. The goal with Let's Chat is to reduce that time and make Alexa work as if you're talking to a real person, where responses come quickly. This also means the ability for you to alter a question midsentence and have Alexa understand and respond accordingly. 

Watch this: Amazon's Alexa Gets More Conversational With AI

Powering this enhanced version of Alexa is a large language model, or LLM, that's been optimized for voice, smart home, real-time info and home entertainment. Amazon says that because Alexa lives in the real world, as opposed to a web browser, it's important for its voice assistant to know what's happening in real time. For example, when asking when the next Taylor Swift concert is, Alexa must be able to search the internet to glean up-to-date information and know your own location to give accurate results. 

Amazon also says it's important for Alexa to not sound too robotic. The voice assistant will continue to have a personality and its own opinions -- or answers that sound like it has opinions -- so it can remain engaging. 

Alexa's new AI-powered assistance isn't limited to new devices either, like the new Echo Show 8, but will come to Alexa-equipped devices from as far back as 2014. 

Watch this: Amazon's Alexa Gets More Conversational With AI

Amazon's focus on generative AI comes as the tech industry itself embraces the power of the new technology. Following the launch late last year of ChatGPT, a conversational chatbot powered by AI that can construct natural-sounding novel sentences instantaneously, the tech industry, as well as consumers, have become enamored with the ease and power AI brings to everyday computing. 

From asking AI to write essays about essentially any topic to having it recreate paintings in a particular artist's style, generative AI has the power to disrupt entire industries. Hollywood screenwriters have been on strike for the past four months, with protesters picketing the use of generative AI by movie studios. Even then, with just about every major tech company embracing generative AI, it could add $2.6 to $4.4 trillion dollars annually to the global economy, according to a report by McKinsey.

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.