Amazon’s voice-controlled artificial intelligence is coming to a TV near you

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  • Although it originally launched more than two years ago, Amazon’s voice controlled artificial intelligence technology, Amazon Alexa, has only recently moved beyond the early adopters. However, the global tech giant’s latest announcement could bring Alexa well and truly into the mainstream.

    Amazon has revealed that its new Fire TV Stick, due to be released in the UK next month, will feature an Alexa Voice Remote, making it the first streaming device ever to feature voice-controlled AI technology.

    Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Amazon Devices International, said: “The all-new Amazon Fire TV Stick has been completely redesigned with incredible performance, powerful voice search and the included Alexa-powered remote to deliver fast access to a vast selection of movies, TV shows, games and Alexa Skills—all for just £39.99."

    ‘Alexa Skills’, the name Amazon gives to its range of voice-activated artificial intelligence functions, will mean the new streaming device will be able to respond quickly and intuitively to the user’s requests. A user will simply have to say "find suspense thrillers" or "open Netflix" and Alexa will respond accordingly. Meanwhile, with Amazon’s own video content the user will be able to control the actual playback with just their voice, which will be as simple as asking Alexa to "go back 30 seconds" or "jump ahead two minutes."

    The new Fire TV Stick, which will feature a powerful quad-core processor and the fastest Wi-Fi connection of any streaming media stick, will also offer users a growing collection of over 7,000 channels and apps, which could encourage even the most technophobic television enthusiasts to consider jumping on board the AI bandwagon.

    The device’s artificial intelligence ‘Skills’ will also extend beyond streaming content – the Alexa Voice Remote will enable users to ask Alexa to read them the news or weather forecast, check their commute for delays, get sports scores, play music, create shopping lists, order a takeaway from Just Eat or request a car from Uber.

    The new Fire TV Stick will be ready to ship on 6th April, and will also be available to buy at Dixons Carphone, Argos, John Lewis, Tesco and Maplin from the same date.

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