Amazon is giving college kids a chance to win up to $2.5 million with a voice-controlled app
The contest is called Alexa Prize, named after Amazon's voice-recognition technology, Alexa, which powers a number of voice-controlled devices, including its super popular speaker Echo.
The goal of the contest, only open to college students, is to build the best possible conversational app using Alexa that can talk about popular topics and news events without sounding like a machine.
Here's how the contest works:
- Amazon will start accepting applications starting today and up until October 28, 2016.
- By November 14, Amazon will announce 10 teams who'll each receive a $100,000 stipend to build their product.
- Those teams will have until November 2017 to build a conversational app on top of Alexa.
- In November 2017, Amazon will hold an event to determine the final winner from those 10 teams, who will win an additional $500,000 cash prize. The final winner will be announced at AWS re:Invent 2017.
- That winner will also be eligible for an additional $1 million that will be awarded to the winning team's university - only if the app passes a final test to prove it can "converse coherently and engagingly with humans for 20 minutes."
"The Alexa Prize challenges students to build socialbots that can acquire knowledge and opinions from the web, and express them in context just as a human would in everyday conversations. This challenge and the immediate feedback students will receive on their best ideas from millions of engaged Alexa customers will make what we previously thought impossible, possible," Rohit Prasad, Amazon Alexa's Vice President and Head Scientist, said in a statement.
Alexa Prize is the latest in Amazon's attempt to get a wider group of engineers to use its voice technology Alexa. There are already thousands of Alexa "skills," or voice-driven capabilities that run on any Alexa-powered device, and Amazon runs a $100 million Alexa Fund that has invested in dozens of startups so far. Amazon is also hosting a session track focused on Alexa at this year's re:Invent for the first time.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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