Thanks to a new Alexa update, you no longer need to turn on ESPN to find out who won last night’s big game. In anticipation of football season, Amazon has begun to fill Alexa with knowledge of most of the major NFL teams. The smart assistant may have struggled to answer questions about the Seahawks, but it can now give you the odds on an upcoming game or tell you specifically how many yards Eli Manning has tossed a pigskin in his career.
Amazon determines the type of knowledge it needs to focus on based on input from users. According to Jason Semine, the principal product manager for sports information for Alexa, says that sports questions are among some of the most frequently asked. “Sports moments are very important to our customers. So this year we wanted to double-down in this area and see where else Alexa may be useful as it relates to sports,” Semine said.
Some of the recent updates to Alexa include:
- The ability to answer sports-related trivia, questions about statistics, and information on injuries.
- The ability to provide updates on team transactions and recent injuries.
- The ability to give predictions on upcoming games.
- The ability to give recaps of finished games.
- The ability to give radio-style reports to fans.
Amazon plans to introduce even more information in the months to come, including data of interest to fantasy football fans.
Alexa currently pulls data from more than 50 sources for its sports information, but Semine says a lot of work is being done in-house to calibrate Alexa’s answers to give real-time answers. For example, if someone asks for the score of the Pittsburgh game, Alexa will soon be able to determine whether the person is asking about football, baseball, or another sport, and answer in kind.
This is just the start for Alexa. “Our long-term goal is for Alexa to understand and be able to answer all questions, in all forms, from anywhere in the world,” Semine says. If you have an Alexa at home, give it a shot. Ask who Alexa thinks will win an upcoming game between your favorite teams, what the spread is, or what player has the most touchdowns in history.
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