This is exactly how Ultron was born. Tony Stark made the fatal mistake of placing two AIs together, and one devoured the other. But fictional tales of Doomsday aside, Microsoft and Amazon are breaking the norms in the AI industry. Amazon today announced that Alexa and Cortana will work together on certain devices. The story was first reported by the New York Times.
So, users using Amazon’s Echo or other Alexa-powered devices will also have access to Cortana now. For those using Alexa, they can say “Alexa, open Cortana”, while Cortana users will say “Cortana, open Alexa”, to use either assistant. It’s not exactly clear how the assistants will work with various devices, but reports say Microsoft and Amazon have created skills for each other’s devices.
Furthermore, with access to Cortana, Alexa can indirectly be used to read your calendar and other apps. That’s because Microsoft has deeper integration between Cortana and its own apps So, Alexa users can simply ask the voice assistant to bring up the desired information.
The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella saw the move as a step in bringing Cortana to more users.
That said, the move is unprecedented from both companies. Big tech firms haven’t been known to collaborate on platforms very easily, especially in something like AI, that many forecast will be the thing in the future. On the other hand, Microsoft may look at this as yet another attempt at amassing more users on its services, while for Amazon, the AI is a tool to gain more data and hence make money.