Amazon has made no secret of its intention to transform itself into an AI powerhouse. It's long dabbled in the space with its product recommendations tailored to buyers and sellers on the marketplace, but now it is exploring ways to use the technology across its many teams. Machine learning experts are now scattered across the organization, working on AWS, Alexa and the Amazon Go store, as well as other key projects.
Thanks to this focus, Amazon has excelled over AI rivals like Alphabet and Microsoft in bringing voice technology to the home. Amazon's Alexa is getting easier to talk to over time as it consistently learns from human data.
But even with its massive appeal, monetization opportunities aren't obvious. Shopping through the voice remains difficult for most consumers, and voice devices are still largely used for menial tasks like playing music.
For Amazon, the key is to turn Alexa into a massive developer platform and make it the de facto voice technology for future apps.
If Amazon can succeed in the space, the opportunity is huge. The voice technology market alone is expected to triple in size to $18 billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets. Beyond that, Alexa could become the system that monitors everything in the home, from the lights to the front door. It might even offer check-ins to combat the problem of loneliness, while delivering healthy food and keeping our kitchens stocked up.