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You can now buy the brains behind Amazon’s Alexa

Dave Gershgorn

The deep neural networks that power Amazon’s popular voice assistant are up for sale.

Developers will now be able to build their own virtual personal assistants for platforms like Facebook Messenger and Slack with a tool called Amazon Lex, the company announced at its Amazon Web Services Summit April 19.

If you want to build a conversation interface, Amazon says you just need to tell Lex which words to listen for in text or speech, the action required when the virtual assistant detects the phrase, and any potential follow-up questions.

“Amazon Lex takes care of the rest by building a machine learning model that parses the speech or text input from the user, understands the intent behind the conversation, and manages the conversation,” Amazon said in a statement.

We’ve played around with Amazon Lex a little bit, and it’s incredibly easy to build a chatbot using some of Amazon’s stock suggestions. But there are other tools on the market: Facebook-owned Wit.ai also helps build conversational bots, and API.ai does the same with many of the integrations that Amazon touts.

So what are you waiting for? Build an AI bot already and get some VC funding.


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