Do you love Alexa but think the voice assistant from Amazon responds too slowly sometimes? Amazon is working on a fix for that, according to an exclusive report from The Information. The online marketplace giant is designing its own artificial intelligence (A.I.) chips that would add speech recognition directly to Alexa-powered devices and allow the voice assistant to respond more quickly. The goal is for the hardware to be built into any device that features Alexa, including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus.
As users of Alexa-powered devices may have noticed, there is a small delay between making an inquiry or request and getting a response from Alexa. That’s because the voice assistant must contact the cloud and interpret the command before it is able to formulate a response. By processing more data on the devices rather than in the cloud, the devices should theoretically be able to formulate a reply more speedily and operate more efficiently overall. While the device will still have to contact the cloud for more complex requests, the addition of speech recognition would eliminate the delay in simple tasks, such as reporting the time.
In 2015, Amazon acquired chip designer Annapurna Labs. The company is now producing A.I. chips that specifically suit Amazon’s own hardware needs. Amazon is also currently in the process of hiring chip engineers for Amazon Web Services, which suggests that the company may be introducing its own proprietary chips for that department as well.