If you ask Alexa who her creator is, "Amazon", will be the usual reply. What this household name will not tell you is that Rohit Prasad, an Indian engineer, is the brain behind her birth.
Alexa was launched in 2014, integrated into the Amazon Echo. By 2017, the dutiful duo saw its place in more that 20 million houses worldwide .
Rohit Prasad joined Amazon in 2013 as the Director of Machine Learning. He became the Vice President of Alexa Machine Learning and Speech for Amazon in May 2016.
In a conversation with The Times of India, he revealed, "If you look at five years back, talking to a device from a distance, in the midst of a lot of noise, was just science fiction. We grew up in the Star Trek era, that was the inspiration for us."
Rohit acquired his interest in speech recognition during his study at Illinois Institute of Technology. Before moving to the USA, he graduated with a degree in Electrical and Communication Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology Mesra in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
He worked with BBN Technologies for the next 14 years which is a research and development arm of the defence company, Raytheon. BBN Technologies was the leading research site for speech recognition and machine learning.
Rohit Prasad was ranked at Number 9 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2017 for leading the voice-controlled revolution.
Alexa is a pioneering feat in the development of AI and the team lead by Rohit Prasad is redefining the way we communicate with machines.