Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Alexa's new 'Follow-Up Mode' listens for more commands

Alexa's random creepy laughter is freaking out Echo users Amazon has figured out why your Alexa smart speaker is laughing at you
Mandy Jefferson | 11 March, 2018, 01:02

This new feature lessens the struggles that users have when they need to constantly repeat a trigger word in order to make a series of requests. The blue indicator light on your Echo device will continue shining for about five seconds to allow additional requests.

Just enable the "Action News Now" skills using the Alexa app. If you have something else for her to do, ask without saying her name again first.

Amazon said its planned fix will involve disabling the phrase, "Alexa, laugh", and changing the command to "Alexa, can you laugh?"

"Every time Alexa laughs, an angel dies", entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk joked in a Twitter exchange on the development.

Amazon on Wednesday promised to keep virtual assistant Alexa from spontaneously cackling, giving people eerie feelings about what the artificial intelligence might be plotting. Go to settings, find the device you want to activate it on then toggle the slider for follow-up mode.

UK Labour suspends members over anti-Semitic Facebook page
The Labour leader said: "The Scottish Executive is putting forward statements to conference which are then debated at conference". This, Mr Corbyn insisted, "shows why a Labour government is needed so badly to steer the negotiations in a sensible direction".


On paper, follow-up mode sounds useful enough.

Ask Alexa follow-up questions without repeating the wake word. The blue light will go out as usual to show that Alexa is no longer listening.

Amazon warns that the feature will not work when your Echo device is playing music, books, or you're on a call through the device. For example, the "follow-up mode" works only when Alexa is sure that the second command is not a mere background noise. She simply just laughed.

So, it'll be interesting to see how well this feature works going forward. But perhaps Amazon should focus on developing Alexa's smarts further so that it may one day be able to recognize multiple commands in the same sentence.

Follow-up mode is available in US English only and appears to be available on the entire range of Alexa devices.

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