ChatGPT broke Amazon’s dream, Microsoft CEO: Alexa, Siri, Cortana are as stupid as rocks

ChatGPT broke Amazon’s dream, Microsoft CEO: Alexa, Siri, Cortana are as stupid as rocks

ChatGPT made generative AI explode, and with it, Amazon’s dream of Alexa fell through.

“Stupid as a rock!”

That’s what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rebuked at the first wave of voice assistants — the likes of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s own Cortana — in an interview with the Financial Times.

Yes, in front of ChatGPT, these former “star products” were instantly eclipsed.

Obviously, as the technology world frantically regards generative artificial intelligence as “The next big thing”, Silicon Valley has become a lot more utilitarian now.

Amazon’s big dreams for Alexa fell through

It’s been more than a decade since Bezos excitedly sketched out his vision for Alexa on a whiteboard at Amazon headquarters.

The Alexa voice assistant helps people with tasks like shopping online, controlling gadgets and even reading bedtime stories to kids.

But it’s clear that Amazon’s founder’s grand vision for a new voice-controlled computing platform has come to nothing.

format,f auto

With the emergence of ChatGPT, the hype in the tech world has turned frantically to generative AI. Obviously, the new “The next big thing” is AIGC.

The previous “The next big thing”, the voice assistants of Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, has changed from being highly sought after to being neglected.

Yes, the explosion of ChatGPT has changed the culture of the entire Silicon Valley.

According to a former Amazon Alexa marketing executive, the previous “growth” culture has now been transformed into how the product can help the company make money.

According to a current employee on the Alexa team, the leadership’s most recent order was: “If you have anything that can be directly profitable, do it now.”

During the tenure of new CEO Andy Jassy, ​​this new order directly led to a large layoff of the Alexa team at the end of last year, because executives were reviewing the direct contribution of each product to the company’s profits.

The e-commerce giant has cut 18,000 jobs as it faces pressure to boost profits amid a global tech downturn.

format,f auto

Nadella slams voice assistant: It’s so stupid

In the mouth of Microsoft CEO Nadella, whether it is Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Microsoft’s own Cortana, they are already “stupid as a rock.”

format,f auto

Nadella said none of these voice assistants will work. “Our product was supposed to be the new front end for a lot of information, and it just didn’t work.”

This relentless rebuke is in sharp contrast to his remarks in 2016, when Nadella said that “bots are the newest apps.”

Yes, voice assistants were quite the thing in those years.

And now, Nadella is blunt: After Microsoft Bing integrated ChatGPT, Microsoft has become a leader in the field of AI chatbots, although it was almost forgotten by most Internet users before.

READ ALSO: Using ChatGPT at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology can score you more points

Today, ChatGPT’s ability to understand complex commands makes all voice assistants look stupid instantly.

format,f auto

Siri CEO Adam Cheyer said, “Nobody knows what they can and can’t do. They don’t know what they can and can’t do.”

a glorified radio

And Alexa often blurts out “did you know” at inopportune occasions, a clever addition that can piss users off.

“People have limited patience and they get angry,” said Carolina Milanesi, president of market research group Creative Strategies. “That’s not the job you made it do. It crossed the line.”

Independent technology analyst Benedict Evans noted that for many users, Alexa is just a “glorified clock radio.”

format,f auto

Still, Amazon said it remains committed to Alexa and is “as optimistic as ever.”

“In fact, Alexa’s user base has continued to grow. By 2022, global engagement has increased by more than 30%; more than 50% of Alexa customers will now use it to shop.”

In many ways, Alexa has been a phenomenal success for Amazon.

According to Insider Intelligence, Alexa is now the nation’s leader in voice assistants, with roughly 66 percent market share.

And Insider estimates that, since the product was first introduced in 2014, just asking “Alexa” in one in five Americans’ homes is now met with a response.

And Amazon says third-party manufacturers have made more than 140,000 Alexa-compatible products, and those operating systems control more than 300 million smart devices, like lights or cameras.

format,f auto

Research firm IDC estimates that more than half of Alexa users interact with it at least once a day, higher than Apple Siri and Google Assistant.

But those interactions are of little immediate value to Amazon, and there is disagreement within Alexa on how to measure Alexa’s impact on Amazon spending, said two people familiar with Alexa.

The current mix of emotions stands in stark contrast to the era when Bezos was so enthusiastic about Alexa.

At that time, Bezos even directly directed the testing and development of Alexa, and also personally designed the look and language of marketing materials.

“Our goal is not to monetize the Alexa program,” said the former Amazon marketing executive. “It’s about selling equipment — we sell a lot of equipment.”

format,f auto

Can Amazon’s dream come true?

Having missed out on the smartphone boom, Amazon has been hoping that Alexa will open up a vast new ecosystem that includes new, lucrative voice-powered apps. Amazon dubbed the apps “Skills” and opened up Alexa to third-party developers.

Amazon said in November that there are now more than 130,000 Skills in its Amazon store. Google is taking a similar move with its Assistant, calling it “conversational behavior.”

format,f auto

But Skills on Alexa is largely free, developers say it’s nearly impossible to monetize, and users have a hard time finding new apps to try.

“I think there are still a lot of people who don’t even know what Skills are,” said Brian Tarbox of Wabi Sabi Software, the developer of Skillls. “

Google has faced similar challenges. In June, it will end access to third-party “conversational actions” made specifically for voice assistants, and instead instruct them to add voice capabilities to Android smartphone and tablet apps.

Without smartphones, Amazon has no similar fallback, and continued competition from Apple and Android “could erode sales gains made through smart speakers,” said IDC analyst Adam Wright.

format,f auto

But the revival of voice assistants may come from generative artificial intelligence, which may make them smarter.

“ChatGPT has already become a sensation,” says a current Amazon employee. “Executives gave orders to the team to brainstorm ways to make Alexa smarter.”

Siri co-founder Cheyer added that the technology has the potential to bring voice assistants back to the sci-fi trajectory they were originally envisioned for.

“It’s really about quality. Fundamentally, this technology will enable a breadth, flexibility, and sophistication that the previous generation of voice assistants didn’t have. There could be a renaissance for voice assistants.”

Source: IT Home