The Alexa Prize

The way humans interact with machines is at an inflection point and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) is at the center of the transformation. Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon Echo, enables customers to interact with the world around them in a more intuitive way using only their voice.

The Alexa Prize is an annual competition for university students dedicated to accelerating the field of conversational AI. The inaugural competition is focused on creating a socialbot, a new Alexa skill that converses coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and news events. Participating teams will advance several areas of conversational AI including knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning and dialog planning. Through the innovative work of students, Alexa customers will have novel, engaging conversations. And, the immediate feedback from Alexa customers will help students improve their algorithms much faster than previously possible.

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Introducing the Alexa Prize

"I believe the dreamers come first, and the builders come second. A lot of the dreamers are science fiction authors, they’re artists...They invent these ideas, and they get catalogued as impossible. And we find out later, well, maybe it’s not impossible. Things that seem impossible if we work them the right way for long enough, sometimes for multiple generations, they become possible."

- Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO, Amazon

The Socialbot Challenge "Alexa, let’s chat about scientific breakthroughs."

Teams of university students will develop a socialbot, a new Alexa skill that converses with customers on popular topics. Participating teams will advance several areas of conversational AI including knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning and dialog planning. Through the innovative work of students, Alexa customers will have novel, engaging conversations. And, the immediate feedback from Alexa customers will help students improve their algorithms much faster than previously possible.

Teams will build their socialbots using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), which tens of thousands of developers are already using to build new skills on Alexa. ASK will allow teams to publish their socialbot to millions of Alexa customers and receive continuous feedback on their inventions in real-world settings. The grand challenge for the 2017 Alexa Prize is to create a socialbot that converses coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and news events for 20 minutes.

Key Dates

  • April 2017

    First Alexa Customer Feedback Period Begins

  • August 2017

    Finalists Announced

  • Final Alexa Customer Feedback Period Begins

  • November 2017

    Competition Concludes & Winners Announced