Do you own an Amazon Echo, the electronic personal assistant often referred to as “Alexa?” I do and I love it. I am finding new uses for it almost daily. However, I never knew of a genealogy use for Alexa until now. Our photographs and social media updates can now turned into memories that we – or our children – could later access just by asking a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa. Mylestone transforms your memories into stories to be heard on virtual assistants.
Mylestone is a new startup that is experimenting with turning our digital footprints into narratives that help us recall highlights from our lives, as well as those of our family members and other loved ones. Mylestone’s mission is to ensure life’s most precious memories are accessible upon command. Utilizing memory artifacts, and a combination of artificial intelligence and external data, the company generates narratives that are available via virtual assistants, such as Alexa.
To use the Alexa app, you first upload a series of photos, videos or audio files to the Mylestone service. These are then analyzed by a combination of data science – meaning artificial intelligence and machine learning – along with people who help the process along.
According to Dave Balter, CEO of Mylestone:
“The pictures of your greatest memories are likely stored somewhere just out of reach. Maybe in an old photo album lost in the basement – or maybe indiscernible from the 3,000 other pictures on your phone, buried in streams on Facebook, or auto saved to a massive photo storage account.
“But what if you could access stories generated from those pictures simply by talking to Alexa?
“With Mylestone, all you have to do is say “Alexa, tell me a story about Mom.” and voila, memories of loved ones at your beck and call.”
Once completed, you or a family member can issue such verbal commands as:
“Alexa, Tell me a memory about Mom.”
“Alexa, Have Grandma tell us the thanksgiving prayer.”
“Alexa, What was Grandpa’s favorite restaurant?”
Amazon’s Echo, also known as Alexa, does not have a display screen so obviously the system will not display photographs that have been uploaded. I am still trying to figure out how photographs get used by Alexa. The Mylestone.com web site states, “…access stories generated from those pictures simply by talking to Alexa.” I would love to hear of your success (or failure) stories when using photographs with Alexa. If you try photographs, please post a comment below describing your experiences. (I am traveling out of the country for the next week and won’t have an opportunity to try it myself for a while.)
The Mylestone app for Alexa, the Amazon Echo, is still in development. It is not yet a finished product but is available for anyone who would like to be a beta tester and help identify bugs.
You can learn more about the development of this new personal assistant app at the Mylestone web site at: http://www.mylestone.com.