It’s no secret our smart digital assistants keep getting smarter. After all, even Amazon was bragging about new Alexa smarts at its latest product announcement. With the addition of A.I. to many smart home devices, our machines and virtual assistants are increasingly gaining the ability to not just carry out commands, but to anticipate our needs and act on them without intervention from us.
Creepy? Perhaps, but for those of us who believe in the benevolence of our smart home gadgets, not needing to program every little command is enticing. Amazon announced Alexa was getting the ability to act on what are called Hunches earlier in 2021. Here’s how to make the magic happen.
Alexa Hunches essentially recognize when something isn’t as it should be and notifies you. Hunches also notice when you don’t do something Alexa has noticed you usually do. As an example, if you often ask Alexa to turn the furnace down before bed, if you forget one night, Alexa may prompt you by asking if you’d like to turn it down. In other words, it had a “Hunch” that you’d want to turn down the furnace, so it makes you the offer of completing that action, either by voice or push notification. Another common Hunch is that Alexa can start your robot vacuum if it has a Hunch you’re not at home. By the way, we’ve got all the details if you need a primer on who Alexa is and what it can do.
Alexa Hunches will also play a big role in Amazon’s new security service, Alexa Guard and Guard Plus. Guard Plus is an upgrade to Alexa Guard, a free service that enables Alexa to listen for trouble while you’re out of the house. The service can also mimic your daily smart light patterns. If Alexa hears activity like noise when it knows you’re gone, or something breaking, for example, it can send you a push notification alerting you to the event. Alexa can also issue a warning if it suspects an intruder.
Hunches are enabled by default, but for the most part, you still need to act on them. If you want Alexa to do more, you can also turn on automatic actions. In this case, Alexa can be more proactive. It’s worth noting that you’ll also need to enable location access for some Hunches and to set your home address.
To get started, or check the status of hunches in your Alexa smart home:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Select More > Settings.
- Scroll down and select Hunches.
- Select Set up Automatic Actions.
- Select the Hunches you want Alexa to act on.
- Follow the steps to approve permissions and choose preferences for the Hunch.
To turn off Alexa Hunches, just head back to the Alexa app the same way you went in above and turn off Hunches.
Alexa Hunches are just another way our smart digital assistants are getting smarter. With the ability to not just anticipate our needs and patterns, but to act on them proactively, you can see how features like these are designed to make life smarter, easier, and better.
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