Alexa Conversations is Now Available

Posted on March 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Dev with 3 Comments

Amazon announced this morning that Alexa Conversations is now available for developers to use in the United States.

“Alexa Conversations is a new AI-driven approach to dialog management that enables you to create skills that customers can interact with in a natural, less constrained way—using the phrases they prefer, in the order they prefer—while freeing you to focus on the highest value parts of your experience,” Amazon’s Drew Meyer writes in the announcement post. “Thousands of developers around the world have now engaged with or published new voice experiences using Alexa Conversations. Brands like iRobot and Amazon, professional Alexa skill builders, and hobbyists all found it faster and simpler to build and enhance dialogs for use cases like catalog selection, guided inquiry, and scheduling.”

Amazon says that Alexa Conversations is the world’s first and only deep learning-based dialog manager. It works best for developers who have already published voice-based solutions and are familiar with basic AI/ML constructs and experienced with Node.js and/or Python.

There seems to be a bit of a learning curve, but once a developer is familiar with how Alexa Conversations works, development proceeds more quickly than with traditional approaches. And thanks to feedback during the preview, Amazon added numerous features to Alexa Conversations, including dialog cloning, command-line support, enhanced authoring workflows, and improved error messages.

Amazon has used the Alexa Conversations functionality to create “Alexa, What Should I Read Next?” and third-party developers are already using this technology for their own solutions, Amazon says. Developer John Gillilan won the grand prize in Amazon’s Alexa Skills Challenge: Alexa Conversations for his Art Museum, “a digital museum experience allowing you to browse the Art Institute of Chicago’s digital collection with Alexa.” And the iRobot Home skill lets customers interact with connected Roomba and Braava robots hands-free.

Developers can learn more about Alexa Conversations from the Alexa Developer website.

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Comments (3)

3 responses to “Alexa Conversations is Now Available”

  1. sherlockholmes

    Alexa, how can I turn you off for good?

  2. crunchyfrog

    "I'm sorry, I'm not sure about that" -Alexa

  3. Singingwolf

    I wish Harmon did a deal where they were able to load Alexa into the Invoke. Killing Cortana is such a dick move.

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