Monday, 4 May, 9:30 – 13:00

Creating AI driven voice experiences with Alexa Conversations

Alexa Conversations is a new deep learning-based approach for creating more natural voice experiences on Alexa. As an AI driven dialog manager, Alexa Conversations provides implicit support for context carry-over, slot over and under-filling, and user driven corrections with less training data and back-end code than traditional skill development techniques. In this session you will learn about the science behind Alexa Conversations in a 30-minute technical deep dive, followed by a 60-minute hands-on workshop. In the workshop you will participate in a guided walk-through to create an Alexa skill, learn how to train the conversational AI to handle increasingly complex user interactions, and enhance Alexa’s spoken and visual responses to add personality. At the end of the session you will be able to speak to your skill on your Alexa enabled devices, and have the knowledge to build on what you have learned for new and innovative use cases.

Alexa users in the US can try an experience created with Alexa Conversations by saying “Alexa, open Night Out”.

Presenter Bio: Maryam Fazel-Zarandi is currently a Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon working on conversational AI for Alexa. Before joining Amazon in 2017, she was a Senior Research Scientist at Nuance Communications. Maryam received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Toronto in 2013. Her research interests are in the areas of machine learning and knowledge representation and reasoning with a focus on natural language understanding and dialogue management.

Presenter Bio: Adam Hasham is a Senior Product Manager for Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) at Amazon. Before that, Adam founded a full-stack on-demand delivery technology platform called Hurrier in 2013, and sold it within 2 years to a Delivery Hero subsidiary (foodora) for its logistics technology and market footprint – generating a 2x+ return for investors (Delivery Hero subsequently IPO’d in 2017 on FSE). He holds a degree in Computer Engineering from University of Waterloo (2004), MBA from Queen’s University (2007) and CFA (2010) and has a broad range of experience from working in technology as a microchip designer, working in finance in Singapore as a Corporate Banker, heading product at foodora and wearing many hats as an entrepreneur.

Presenter Bio: Josey Sandoval is a Senior Product Manager for Alexa AI at Amazon, based in Seattle. He has spent the last three years with Alexa focused on dialog management capabilities and enabling more natural conversational experiences. Before joining Amazon in 2016, Josey lead product and engineering teams for a B2B human resources technology startup, and holds a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington with a focus on signal processing and signal path.

Additional Workshop Support: Asif Khan (SA), Sam Ingbar (SA)

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