While it’s refreshing to see a woman get asked her opinion about beer for once, Amazon’s Alexa doesn’t offer an earth-shattering answer.
TechCrunch reports that Amazon Fire TV vice president Marc Whitten discussed the development of Alexa’s “opinions” at a recent chat during The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Alexa’s non-factual opinions are part of the goal of having users engage in dialogue with the virtual assistant rather than just treating it like a robotic search engine.
Alexa can, for example, say its favorite beer is Budweiser, which is not the most inspired choice—it’s the fourth best-selling beer in America. If she really wanted to become our favorite Manic Pixie Dream Assistant, Alexa could have gone with a tropical fruit-forward hazy IPA, or even a tart Berliner weisse. (Want actual beer recommendations? I got you, boo.)
But Alexa’s opinion is just one of many non-factual, non-programmed preferences that Amazon hopes the assistant will develop through machine learning and deep learning networks, according to TechCrunch.
“This is the power of machine learning. One of the most interesting things we’re going at is how do you design an assistant that feels like you’re having a conversation with someone,” Whitten said.
In the near future, Amazon’s engineers anticipate Alexa will be able to offer not just recommendations but her own preferences for movies, beer, songs, TV shows, and more. Let’s just hope they’re a little more off-beat than her taste in beer.