Amazon has long been working on trying to make users’ lives more convenient with connected devices. They initially introduced the concept of “Hunches” in 2018. This allowed Alexa to inform a user when something was not quite right with their connected device and offer to fix the issue if possible. The company has recently taken Hunches to the next level by enabling Alexa to proactively complete tasks based on the user’s habits without asking for permission beforehand.
Alexa is now able to interact with various smart devices without needing to inform users about their actions. These devices include lights, plugs, smart locks, thermostats, and vacuums. According to Amazon, Alexa can now complete actions like “[turning] off the lights when you're asleep, or [adjusting] the thermostat when you're away.” Users may also begin to receive Hunches recommendations for their other connected devices based on their activity. It is currently unclear what other kinds of devices will be added.
Alexa originally always asked permission before performing the task. For example, Alexa may have informed a user that they had forgotten to turn-off a light. Alexa would then ask the user if they would like for it to complete the task. Users could then accept or reject Alexa’s suggested Hunch. Users could also ask Alexa “Do you have any hunches?” to be informed about any potential issues with their connected devices. Amazon announced this past autumn that automated hunches would be arriving soon. They argued that this new feature will make it so that consumers have less things to think about, especially when they are not at home.
Hunches will be automatically enabled but can be disabled either through Alexa’s setting menu or after Alexa has provided an explanation of the first automated Hunch they intend to complete. Users can also change or edit the kinds of Hunches they want Alexa to act on. Users will first need to go to the Alexa app, open “More”, and select “Settings.” Next, users should scroll down then menu and click on “Hunches.” Users will then want to click “Select Set up automatic actions” where they can edit the Hunches. Only time will tell if this will be a useful or rather creepy and irritating feature.