The Multi-Agent Design Guide

Major developments for Amazon's Voice Interoperability Initiative highlight tough choices ahead


A mash-up is the combination of two or more songs which together conjoin to make an entirely new and unique song.

For example:



Or, if you were to mash up 39 songs into one, you’d have one of the most popular videos to ever be published to YouTube:



Amazon has quietly assembled its own mash-up, otherwise known as the Voice Interoperability Initiative, which today gained another 38 members (to total 77).

These are companies that have collectively agreed to cooperate on allowing voice assistants to peacefully co-exist, enabling end users to have choice over which AI they use.

Here are the companies:



Perhaps the most important development, though, is the release of what Amazon and the Voice Interoperability Initiative call the Multi-Agent Design Guide, a 30-page document outlining the guiding principles of this new organization.

The four pillars of this group are outlined here:



As fantastic of an effort as the Voice Interoperability Initiative is, there are two debilitating problems:

1) Amazon owns it.

2) Google isn’t part of it.

Amazon has demonstrated vision and leadership in starting this initiative, but will soon hit a ceiling on how far they can take it, simply because they are Amazon and have such a major stake in what this organization governs.

They should hand this effort off, entirely, to an independent third party like the Open Voice Network. Paradoxically, this would shield them more from regulatory aggression than by holding on to this project.

This would likely correct the other problem, which is Google’s lack of participation.

Even though Apple and Samsung are also neither cooperating or jumping on board with Amazon’s new organization, no one has more to lose than Google.

The government has launched an anti-trust case against Google and every argument that Google can muster that it is part of broader coalitions, rather than a monopolistic unilateral force, is valuable.



It seems so obvious from a distance, but Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft being part of the same cooperative pact, would effectively reduce the chance of governmental interference in voice and AI to zero.

If Amazon steps aside and freely relinquishes the reins, it might just create the opportunity to do that sooner rather than later.



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