Artificial Intelligence. What do you know about it? Well, apart from what you see in movies or television shows. Little to nothing at all, right? Here’s a very simplified definition of AI. It is a term for machines who simulate “thinking” as a human would do. They would compute (computers, hello) and calculate the best possible answer or solution to what a normal human being would do.
Now imagine being able to analyze millions of processes per second! Yes, that’s what AI is capable of. Some of the more modern robotics and AI tech industries have even gone so far as installing “emotion” chips on these machines. Terminator, anyone? This article tells of a research that showed how AI is actually better at recognizing emotions that other human beings. Crazy, right?
Well, if you didn’t already know, AI is already installed in most smartphones, maybe even the one you’re holding right now as you read this post. You may even have told the AI to search the topics related to this one and that’s how you found this. In any case, AI tech is here to stay so might as well learn about it.
Alexa is a cloud-based, voice recognition AI developed by Amazon and was initially launched in 2014. It was designed to be a personal assistant for the home but somehow the applications are so much more than just being a glorified secretary. These are 3 things that Alexa can do better than you.
Not to be a douche, but most people aren’t well-organized anyway so it doesn’t take much for Alexa to be better at it. Just activate it by telling it a wake word (sort of like a password) and then you’re ready to go. Ask for the time and weather, easy as pie. The latest on the NFL? She’ll even give you the scores to your fantasy team. Ask for your morning jam, and she’ll even inform you of your favorite artist’s latest hit album.
This is all happening while you are going around your house waiting for the coffee to finish and while you pick up the newspaper (but I mean come on, why do you need the newspaper when you can ask Alexa what’s the latest news on, well, just about everything). She reminds you that you have a meeting in an hour and that you needed to confirm through a phone call, and then she asks if you want her to dial the number for you. What?
As previously stated, Alexa is voice activated so she needs your commands and requests before she acts on anything, most of the time. If you had put alarms and reminders beforehand, then Alexa doesn’t need your permission to do it because you had programmed it before. That’s actually a good idea because she doesn’t forget, and she’ll remind you.
If you really want to know, Alexa can do more than 5,000 functions. That is more functions that I could ever do in my entire existing life. Seriously, can you name more than 10 that you regularly do? I’ll wait. You will probably communicate with Alexa more times a week than you do with your family in a year (which in itself can be a good thing). Now, that’s communication.
This is a great addition to Alexa’s functions. Amazon is doing some pretty advanced technology these days. Once you get everything set up in your house (which Amazon will gladly help you), you can fully automate your house. Why would you want that?
Here’s a scenario. You’re running late for a meeting so you rush out of the house, jump into your car, and speed away. After 15 minutes, you’re now fully conscious and you just remembered that you forgot to turn the lights off, the air conditioner is still blowing out air, and the garage door is open. You can’t go back, of course, so what do you do? Alexa to the rescue.
You can program presets (like an emergency I-forgot-what-I-left-on setting) that will keep you in control of your house even when you’re physically not there. That’s how powerful and useful this AI is, always ready to help.
Alexa is one of the new wonders of the modern world. Truth be told, Amazon is still cleaning out some minor kinks through regular updates (which you can program Alexa to do every day). But these negatives are so few and far between that the advantages far outweigh them. And if you ever just want someone to talk to, Alexa will listen to everything you have to say (just tell her to).