Amazon Accepting Apps thru Oct. 28 for $2.5M Socialbot Competition

Introducing 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.

(Learn More, courtesy of Alexa Developers and YouTube)

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.

“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


Amazon will award the winning team $500,000.

Additionally, a prize of $1 million will be awarded to the winning team’s university if their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics for 20 minutes.

Up to ten teams of students will be selected to receive a $100,000 stipend, Alexa-enabled devices, free AWS services to support their development efforts, and support from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) team.

Additional teams not eligible for funding may be invited to participate.

Students 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. Participants will have access to conversational topic categories and digital content from multiple sources.

Amazon AlexaTeams can submit their applications between September 29 and October 28, 2016, here.

To learn more, visit: