>> Alexa, set the temperature in the room to 80 degrees.>> Amazon launching a new program allowing university students to create features for its voice controlled personal assistant Alexa. In the race to beat rivals like Google, in developing and monitizing artificial intelligence, Amazon is paying for a year long doctoral fellowship at four universities, Carnegie Mellon, John Hopkins, the University of Southern California, and Canada's University of Waterloo.
Reuters correspondent Jeffrey Dastin says, while Alexa fund fellows will get the chance to work on complex tech issues, there's also a payoff for Amazon.>> It will start improving it's service Alexa today, because while companies startups have already built skills for Alexa now the classroom, students will be able to contribute their ideas, make conversational artificial intelligence better, and improve the product in the long run should Amazon adopt any of their projects.
>> Uber in 2015 took 40 people from Carnegie Mellon's robotic center to work on self-driving cars, and Microsoft has awarded fellowships to doctoral researchers in different areas of computer science for years, but Amazon's approach is different.>> It's very typical for a company to give a university new technology to work with and just to let the institution see what happens of that experimentation, but Amazon is by contrast seeking out commercial opportunities, hoping to commercialize kind of the work that the students will be doing, and therefore, immediately benefit the company.
>> Under the program, students' projects will remain their own intellectual property but with the fellowship, Amazon hopes to recruit sought after engineers who will already be more familiar with Alexa than other voice controlled assistants.