Amazon Quietly Reveals Plan to Put Alexa in Almost Everything

Amazon Quietly Reveals Plan to Put Alexa in Almost Everything

Just when you thought Alexa wasn’t integrated into enough stuff, Amazon has casually announced a new way to add the artificially intelligent voice assistant to even the cheapest, dumbest things. The new technology is capable of running Alexa with the most basic processors and less than 1MB of memory. That means you might soon mean your light switches, your toaster, and even your toothbrush might start listening to you.

The news isn’t altogether surprising. Amazon made it clear at its September hardware event that it has every intention of making it cheap and easy-to-install Alexa devices throughout your home and even on your body. There are the new Amazon Flex devices that are essentially tiny Alexa-enabled speakers that plug into a wall outlet like a nightlight. Alexa is central to the Echo Buds (earbuds), the Echo Loop (a smart ring), and the Echo Frames (smart glasses). But in the grand scheme of things, these are all reasonably sophisticated pieces of electronics.

The new Alexa technology—confusingly named AVS Integration for AWS IoT Core—means that gadgets with a simple, low-powered microcontroller and a minimal amount of RAM can run Alexa. Amazon explains on its developer blog that Alexa Built-in products used to require “expensive application processor-based devices with >50MB memory running on Linux or Android.” But now, it sounds like even a coffee mug could theoretically run Alexa.

“We now offload the vast majority of all of this to the cloud,” Dirk Didascalou, Vice President of AWS IoT, told TechCrunch. “So the device can be ultra dumb. The only thing that the device still needs to do is wake word detection. That still needs to be covered on the device.”

Dirk had a couple more dystopian things to say.

“It just opens up the what we call the real ambient intelligence and ambient computing space,” he said. “Because now you don’t need to identify where’s my hub—you just speak to your environment and your environment can interact with you. I think that’s a massive step towards this ambient intelligence via Alexa.”

In other words, Alexa can soon be so pervasive in your home, you won’t even know which device you’re talking to. And on top of that, some of these devices will be so dumb that they can only understa

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