Amazon has added a new skill to its voice-activated, artificially intelligent digital assistant Alexa: enabling people to make donations to charities via voice commands.
According to news from TechCrunch, users of an Alexa-enabled device can now tell Alexa to donate a certain amount of money, and the voice-activated personal assistant will take the funds from the user’s Amazon account and pay it out to a specific organization. The voice assistant relies on a four-digit voice confirmation code to make sure the donation isn’t a mistake or that someone else in the house doesn’t direct Alexa to make a donation. Amazon said it shares a consumer’s username, email address and home address with the charity the money is going to but will not provide any credit card information. Users receive an email confirming the donation and can track it via Amazon Pay. The feature works with 40 charities. Users can simply say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and the virtual assistant will help the user choose from a list, or they can name the specific charity to which they want to donate.
The ability to donate to charities via Alexa isn’t the only skill Amazon has been working on in recent months. In March, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a partnership with Amazon that allows its institutional clients to get stock information from Alexa. According to news from Bloomberg at the time, Alexa can now send analysts’ reports and answer any Wall Street-related questions. In addition, other features, such as providing prices on bonds or swaps, could be available in the near future.
Voice assistants are “clearly becoming something people are habituated to in their lives,” said David Hudson, global head of markets execution for JPMorgan Chase. “It’s about taking information that’s somewhere in the bank — that someone has to generally go and look for, or which is time-consuming or requires authentication to get — and [offering] that to you in another channel.”