Delving into patent applications from major technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, reveal a world of innovation and potential products. Proving this, online retail giant Amazon filed a patent application last year for an AI system that can recognise voices.
The system is designed to operate in Amazon’s smart speakers (aka Alexa) and, using customer voice data it overhears, tailor adverts and services to the user.
The application was filed in June last year and reveals details about technology that will allow Amazon to listen to its customers. At the moment, while Alexa can listen and record conversations, it doesn’t unless directed to do so.
A special ‘wake phrase’ must be used for the recorders and memory to kick in. However, this ‘voice sniffer tech’ could change that.
The speakers and other AI systems would be fitted with ‘voice sniffer algorithms’ that will constantly track speech and start working when they recognise key words. According to the patent filing: “One or more sniffer algorithms or processes can attempt to identify trigger words in the voice content, which can indicate a level of interest of the user.
“For each identified potential trigger word, the device can capture adjacent audio that can be analysed, on the device or remotely, to attempt to determine one or more keywords associated with that trigger word.”
The speaker then sends the information to third parties that will create tailored content. Amazon said: “Topics of potential interest to a user, useful for purposes such as targeted advertising and product recommendations, can be extracted from voice content produced by a user. A computing device can capture voice content, such as when a user speaks into or near the device.”
They have said in the past that they won’t use customer voice data to tailor ads, which goes against the application content. In response, Amazon says that: “Patents take multiple years to receive and do not necessarily reflect current developments to products and services.”
For information on Intellectual Property (IP) law, which covers everything from patents shaping the tech of the future to copyright and trade marks, contact the team at Dawn Ellmore Employment. We can help you find the ideal role for you, whether you’re a qualified patent attorney or looking for a trainee position.