Disclaimer: this is not intended to an advertisement of the product Amazon Alexa, in any way.
I’m going to write a a few words about the product (which I have yet to put my hands on myself).
What fascinates me the most is actually that Amazon has packaged a long list of simple use-cases ranging from playing music to answering questions (and this is where the AI gets interesting that it needs to understand the question no matter how its phrased, research the topic and answer the question in a summarised form – as if it “understands” the topic in question – whether the topic is “the philosophy of Sufism” or finding the number of accidents in Stockholm during 2015).
What’s brilliant about it is that its put no focus the technical aspect of Artificial Intelligence and, much like Siri on the iPhone (and Apple philosophy in general) focus on creating a good user experience where is super easy to use the product or service.
I personally see myself getting entertained by its jokes, using it to put tasks on my todo list (and remind me when I have deadlines)!
Expect more of these services to bubble up even by startups and other players in the field though I think Amazon due to their first mover advantage (much like Amazon Web Services which is used by giants like Netflix etc) might have a competitive edge here.