Amazon Offers up to a $2.5 Million Prize for a Year-Long Alexa Competition
Amazon does not mess around when it comes to their Alexa assistant. Since the company launched the Echo, they have poured a lot of money and resources into the product. We’re seeing new skills added all the time, and the Echo recently surpassed 1,000 skills earlier this year for people to set it up with. Amazon is keeping the momentum rolling with a newly announced year-long competition for a socialbot.
Amazon has laid out the rules here, so be sure to check those out if you are interested. The competition started on September 28th and will be concluded sometime in November of next year. It’s broken up into 8 phases and we’re currently in phase 1 right now. Phase one is the participation application process so you’ll want to send in your application if you plan on being part of this hackathon. Phase 1 will end on October 28th at 11:59 PM PT.
The goal here is to use the Alexa Skills Kit to create the best socialbot you can. The socialbot will need to hold a conversation for 20 minutes and the team with the best socialbot will be awarded a $500,000 cash prize. The winning team’s university will also receive a $1 million research grant, thanks to Amazon, but it doesn’t stop there. If the socialbot is able to hold a “coherent” and “relevant” conversation for the entire 20 minutes, then Amazon will pay up another $1 million.
This brings the total prize for the Alexa hackathon up to $2.5 million and makes it the highest paying hackathon to date. The previous record was set at $1 million and was awarded by Salesforce during Dreamforce back in 2013. Amazon will be narrowing down the participants into 10 teams and will be providing all of the technology, cash, and travel expenses that are necessary to bring them to all competition-related activities. The finals of the competition will take place at the Amazon Web Services’ Re:Invent Conference next year.