Amazon announces $2.5M ‘Alexa Prize’ contest for university students

Amazon announces $2.5M ‘Alexa Prize’ contest for university students

In an evident effort aimed at advancements in conversational artificial intelligence (AI), online retail giant Amazon announced a new contest for university students on Thursday.

The new contest announced by Amazon is called ‘Alexa Prize;’ and it will have a total prize pool of $2.5 million.

Under the Alexa Prize contest, teams of university students will be given the task of building a ‘socialbot’ on the Amazon Alexa voice-controlled platform. The ‘socialbot’ should have the capability to converse with humans about popular topics and news events.

The university team that builds the highest performing ‘socialbot’ will win a $500,000 prize. In addition, if the ‘socialbot’ built by the winning team is capable of comprehensibly conversing with humans for 20 minutes, a $1 million award will be given to their university.

University teams interested in participating in Amazon’s Alexa Prize content can submit their applications between September 29 and October 28, 2016. The contest will kick off on November 14, 2016, with the announcement of the participants; and will conclude at AWS re:invent in November 2017, with the announcement of the winners.

Up to 10 university teams will be sponsored by Amazon; and each of those teams will get a $100,000 stipend, along with Alexa-enabled devices, free AWS services, as well as support from the Alexa team.