Amazon’s AI rewrites voice commands in natural language to reduce false positives

“Reference resolution” is a considerable challenge in natural language processing — in the context of AI assistants like Alexa, it entails correctly associating a word like “their” in the utterance like “play their latest album” with a given musician. Scientists at Amazon have previously addressed it by tapping AI that maps correspondences between variables used by different services, but these mappings tend to be application-specific and not particularly scalable.

That’s why now, researchers at the Seattle company are actively exploring a technique that rewrites commands in natural language by substituting names and other data for references (for instance, rewriting “Play their latest album” as “Play Imagine Dragons’ latest album”). Given a word of an input sequence, their contextual query rewrite engine adds a word to an ouput sequence according to probabilities computed by the machine learning algorithm.

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