Amazon's Alexa Hunches can switch your heating off for you if you forget

Alexa Hunches can now make its own decisions, blurring the boundaries between human and machine

Amazon Echo (4th Generation)
(Image credit: Amazon)

Alexa comes in many shapes and sizes: be it preferred through the miniature frame of the Amazon Echo Dot, or maybe in the Amazon Echo 4th Gen. Irrespective of the device, Alexa is duty-bound to perform your commands on cue. 

Alexa Hunches, which is a bedrock of Alexa's digital home assistance, is now being dialed up into a more proactive, hands-on version of itself. It can now make decisions to control your smart home’s myriad gadgets of its own accord. And, if that's not enough, these decisions are responses to your learned behaviors, which means Alexa Hunches is one step ahead of you in our own home! 

Alexa Hunches was first introduced in 2018 to handle suggestions for your connected smart home devices. The premise was simple: to pick up on habits, register behaviors, and then aid your day-to-day by filling in the gaps. 

A light that you usually turn off, but might’ve forgotten to do one evening? No problem, Alexa Hunches will step in and request to switch it off based on prior behaviors. You can then okay this with a voice command or grant permission on your phone across various Alexa devices. 

Amazon has taken things further with the feature in the US this week by enabling Alexa Hunches to perform actions autonomously, lessening the daily number of interactions you have with the smart assistant. It can perform a corrective sweep of your smart devices to see if you have left something on where, usually, it would be off. 

There's an abundance of Alexa devices to choose from, which can be confusing. T3 has picked through the best Alexa speakers for any budget, so you can start kitting out your smart home from a solid foundation.

Smart lights, lights, and a host of other connected gadgets are under the beck and call of Alexa Hunches. All of these can be powered with the help of T3's best smart plugs – here, you can add app and Alexa control to any socket. Or, maybe, you might want Alexa Hunches to regulate your heating. T3 has handpicked the best smart thermostat out of a busy crowd to keep you warm, while saving money. 

Understandably, of course, you might not want a digital smart assistant governing your home's gadgets, making calls on what's on or off, entirely independent of yourself. Fear not, though, as these things can be amended with a bit of know-how and settings adjustment. Here's how:

Switch Alexa Hunches off

Alexa Hunches is on by default (probably its own call under the new circumstances). The first port of call is voice commands: to turn off Hunches, you can say, 'Disable Hunches'. To turn Hunches back on say, 'Enable Hunches.'

Of course, voice commands are shaky at the best of times. If this doesn't work, head to Alexa Hunches in the Alexa app:

All being well, this should deactivate Alexa Hunches, leaving you free to control your devices without any say-so from Amazon's smart kit. 

Switch Alexa Hunches on

If Hunches isn't on by default for an unknown reason, or you've deactivated it and forgotten how to turn it back on, simply, head to the app, and follow the instructions.

From here on, you can preside over the sort of hunches that you want Alexa to register. 

If the Alexa Hunches news is all a bit too iRobot for you, then we can certainly relate to this feeling. It shouldn't be mistaken for Routines, though, which are programmable commands that a user submits to Alexa to trigger certain actions. 

Alexa Hunches, on the other hand, uses AI-driven learning to assimilate repeat patterns of behavior and learn real-time responses to this. It's a big insight into the road ahead for Amazon as it looks to bake ever-evolving functions into home-based technology. 

For some people, it'll be a revelatory step in building a seamless smart home experience; for others, it'll be one automation too far, and some users may respond by dialing back Alexa's involvement in their personal smart setup, or by simply switching the Alexa Hunches function off. 

Source: The Verge