So here’s the deal, folks. Amazon is finally getting serious about generative AI. And according to their outgoing director of Alexa and Echo devices, that means Alexa is about to level up in a big way. But here’s the catch – you gotta be willing to pay for it.
Earlier this year, Amazon made headlines when they added a whole bunch of third-party AI tools to AWS. And now they’ve announced that they’re investing up to $4 billion in OpenAI rival, Anthropic. Microsoft also poured billions into OpenAI, by the way. So, if you connect the dots and read between the lines, it’s pretty clear. Alexa is gonna benefit from these big investments, but the costs will be passed along to us, the consumers.
In an interview with Bloomberg, outgoing Amazon executive Dave Limp spilled the beans. He revealed that they’ve been using generative AI to build Alexa features behind the scenes for the past couple years. And here’s the thing, the more data you feed these models, the better they get. But that ain’t cheap, my friends. Training and running these models in the cloud costs a pretty penny.
Don’t get me wrong, Alexa and other digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are useful in their own right. They’re great for setting timers and adding reminders. But let’s be real here – they can’t hold a candle to generative AIs like ChatGPT and Bard. Those things are on a whole different level.
Limp envisions a future Alexa that can add generative AI features to enhance its capabilities. But before they start charging customers for it – and trust me, they will – it has to be truly remarkable. They want to make sure it’s worth every penny.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. When we asked Amazon about the future of Alexa, they told us that the Alexa we know and love today will remain free. But they agreed with Limp that these new features will eventually be worth paying for. Just like the premium versions of ChatGPT and other generative AIs out there, customers are willing to shell out the dough if they see enough value.
So get ready, folks. Alexa’s most useful services might just end up behind a paywall. And knowing Amazon, they won’t stop there. If there’s a way to make more money, you can bet Bezos’ brainchild will find it. Just look at what they did with Alexa Guard. They moved previously free services behind a paywall called Alexa Emergency Assist. Not cool, Amazon.
Under Alexa Emergency Assist, everything comes with a price tag. Even those notifications for broken glass or alarms that used to be free. Home and away modes, as well as light automation, will still be available for free. But if you want those premium services, you’ll have to pay up.
Now, Ring Protect users who already had Alexa Guard can breathe a little easier. If they linked their Ring account to their Amazon account before September 20, they’ll get Alexa Emergency Assist for free until October 31, 2024. Lucky them.
For the rest of us, it’s gonna cost $5.99 per month or $59 per year. But here’s the catch, folks. That’s just a temporary offer that expires on January 8, 2024. After that, the price will go up for everyone except Amazon Prime subscribers. They’ll still get the discounted price.
But here’s the kicker – even Amazon doesn’t know how much they’ll charge non-Prime subscribers after January 8. They said they’ll confirm the pricing later this year. So, yeah, good luck with that.
And just to add insult to injury, Amazon recently added ads to its Prime video streaming service. Now they’re charging a $2.99 fee to eliminate the ads for Prime subscribers. It’s like they’re slowly chipping away at the things we used to get for free. Classic Amazon move, right?
So there you have it, my friends. Brace yourselves for a future where Alexa’s most useful features come with a price tag. And who knows what else Amazon has up its sleeve. All we can do is hope and pray that they don’t lock even more Alexa features behind a paywall. But let’s be real, that’s a long shot. Stay vigilant, people. Stay vigilant.