Automated Insights’ Wordsmith and Amazon Alexa Host Conversational Language Hackathon

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AP, NASDAQ, Lincoln Financial, Sling TV, Ticketmaster showcase new natural language generation for Alexa skills at Automated Insights Hackathon.

Typically, integrations have focused on what a user can say to Alexa, not what she can say back. With Wordsmith, we get human-sounding responses that naturally use different language each time.

With Wordsmith, skills for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers the Amazon Echo, are getting smarter.

On January 24 and 25, Automated Insights, the company behind the natural language generation (NLG) platform Wordsmith, and Amazon Alexa hosted a hackathon to find ways to bring conversational natural language to Alexa skills.

"Typically, integrations have focused on what a user can say to Alexa, not what she can say back,” said Krijn van der Raadt, Vice President of IT and Software Development at GreatCall, whose team took second place at the event. “With Wordsmith, we get human-sounding responses that naturally use different language each time."

The joint Alexa-Wordsmith Hackathon drew participants from the Associated Press, Bankrate, GreatCall, Lincoln Financial, NASDAQ, Omnitracs, PowerSchool, TIBCO, TicketMaster, Sling TV, STATS, and ReverbNation.

Teams were tasked to create and demonstrate cutting-edge integrations utilizing both Wordsmith and Alexa. During the event, projects analyzed company stocks, evaluated soccer plays, reported on a loved-one’s well-being, shared a child’s academic status, suggested television shows, music and concerts, and prepared a financial advisor for a client meeting.

The winning team, Omnitracs, showed how trucking managers can ask Alexa about driver performance. Data scientist Ramprasad Renganathan sees the human voice as an increasingly important user interface in his industry, especially given safety concerns with devices on vehicles.

“Alexa is a launching pad for future projects,” he said. “Wordsmith will play an important role in how we communicate with our customers in the future.”

Robbie Allen, CEO of Automated Insights, looked forward to continuing to work with Alexa, saying, “It was exciting to see the future of natural language technologies in action. Alexa can now leverage Wordsmith to provide natural spoken conversations, and the possibilities are endless.”

The Alexa-Wordsmith event is the first event between Amazon and Automated Insights, with an additional event planned later in the year. Automated Insights also hosts NLG hackathon events with partners in cities across the country.

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Automated Insights is the creator of Wordsmith, the world’s only open natural language generation template engine. Ai’s Wordsmith allows users to generate human-sounding narratives from data. The platform makes it easy to produce millions of personalized reports, articles and narratives in the time it takes to write just one. Wordsmith helps companies in data-driven industries, including financial services, e-commerce, real estate, business intelligence, media and many others, achieve content scale, efficiency and personalization. Customers including Allstate, The Associated Press,, the Orlando Magic and Yahoo! use Wordsmith to generate 1.5 billion pieces of content a year. For more information, visit

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Adam Smith
since: 06/2011
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