Amazon's Alexa now also Personal Assistant for Software Engineers

Apps and Software

Amazon Echo Plus, Alexa Voice Service activated recognition system/ Photo By seewhatmitchsee via 123RF


Amazon’s virtual assistant tool, Alexa, has been tweaked to become a personal assistant of software engineers. The computer scientists who did the adjustments made Alexa improve productivity and workflow speed of the engineers.

Alexa Speeds Up Performance of Software Engineers at Work

There are numerous tools that can be used by software engineers to speed up their productivity and workflow rate. Each tool has millions of computer code lines utilized to perform assigned functions or tasks such as editing, building or testing systems. However, switching among different tools is troublesome to engineers and slows down their productivity.

Thus, computer scientists at the University of British Columbia selected Amazon Alexa from many virtual assistants to help some of the needs of software engineers.

“The idea to use Alexa came out of my frustration from using these different tools and having to spend so much time looking up how to do it and use those tools together,” said Nick Bradley, the lead computer scientist of the study at UBC.

In order to modify Alexa for software engineers, the scientists uploaded key phrases and mapping commands to teach the VA program. The key phrases and mapping commands were needed to allow Alexa communicate with engineers via a simple, conversational language.

After they taught the VA, they requested 21 engineers from local software companies in Vancouver to test it. The engineers found that the software modifications on Alexa are indeed useful, however, the audio from the voice commands are somewhat disruptive to some people.

The computer scientists are now planning to develop a chatbot system to serve engineers with minimal needs. They also plan to optimize the Alexa system to perform multi-step tasks, allowing engineers to deal with more important duties on the job.