In the earlier days of smart assistants, they seemed only smart because of how they seemed to know things or do things like magic. Of course, they still needed to scour the net or wirelessly flick a switch, and most of the time you still had to actually tell them to do those. These days, the likes of Amazon Alexa have definitely gotten smarter, able to predict your next move, and, in this latest update, even take action without having to ask your permission.
In 2018, Amazon launched not only a handful of new Echo and Alexa-powered devices, it also introduced the concept of Hunches. In a nutshell, this a learning AI system that is able to predict what you want to do next based on your habits and previous actions. But while Alexa can intelligently and correctly guess that next step, it still asks your permission before it takes action.
With the new proactive Hunches feature, Alexa is relieving users of the burden of having to even answer yes or no to that prompt. Alexa will, instead, automatically switch off most of the house’s lights when you start its Bedtime routine. It will, however, also leave some lights on if, based on its Hunch, you always leave it shining all through the night.
It might sound convenient for some users but will most likely worry others. Fortunately, it seems that you will be able to control which Hunches Alexa can proactively act on and which will still require your explicit permission. Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t gone into detail on how much control users will have.
The Verge reports that Amazon is also rolling out other new features. One such feature is the $4.99 per year Guard Plus security subscription that will let Alexa dial emergency services based on certain types of sounds it hears. A new energy dashboard also collects the power consumption of devices connected to the smart assistant, presuming their manufacturers provide such a feature, of course.