Rohit Prasad: Amazon Alexa and Conversational AI

Rohit Prasad is the vice president and head scientist of Amazon Alexa and one of its original creators.

This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. If you would like to get more information about this podcast go to or connect with @lexfridman on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium, or YouTube where you can watch the video versions of these conversations. If you enjoy the podcast, please rate it 5 stars on Apple Podcasts or support it on Patreon.

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Here’s the outline of the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.

00:00 – Introduction
04:34 – Her
06:31 – Human-like aspects of smart assistants
08:39 – Test of intelligence
13:04 – Alexa prize
21:35 – What does it take to win the Alexa prize?
27:24 – Embodiment and the essence of Alexa
34:35 – Personality
36:23 – Personalization
38:49 – Alexa’s backstory from her perspective
40:35 – Trust in Human-AI relations
44:00 – Privacy
47:45 – Is Alexa listening?
53:51 – How Alexa started
54:51 – Solving far-field speech recognition and intent understanding
1:11:51 – Alexa main categories of skills
1:13:19 – Conversation intent modeling
1:17:47 – Alexa memory and long-term learning
1:22:50 – Making Alexa sound more natural
1:27:16 – Open problems for Alexa and conversational AI
1:29:26 – Emotion recognition from audio and video
1:30:53 – Deep learning and reasoning
1:36:26 – Future of Alexa
1:41:47 – The big picture of conversational AI