Monday, April 4, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

How Amazon Created Echo

Eugene Kim:

Echo has emerged as Amazon’s sleeper hit, a hot-selling gadget that’s being hailed as the standard-bearer for an entirely new computing paradigm in which Amazon suddenly has an edge on rivals such as Apple and Google.

[…]

The average latency of existing voice-recognition technology at the time was around 2.5 to three seconds, so the Echo team initially set the goal at two seconds, according to an early team member.

But when the team presented its plan to Bezos, Amazon’s CEO countered with a much more ambitious target.

[…]

The test involved a human “wizard” sitting in a separate room and responding in real-time to any voice query a human testing subject would make to the Echo, often without telling the tester in advance. For example, if the subject asked Echo, “What’s the weather like in New York?” the wizard in the other room would quickly type and send out an answer through Echo’s voice.

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