Amazon shows Alexa speaking like a child’s dead grandma • The Register


In the latest episode of black mirrora giant mega-corporation, sells AI software that learns to mimic the voice of a deceased woman whose husband sits weeping over a smart speaker, listening to her soft tones.

Just kidding – it’s Amazon, and that’s real life. The experimental feature of the company’s virtual assistant, Alexa, was announced at an Amazon conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Rohit Prasad, chief scientist for Alexa AI, described the technology as a means to build trust between human and machine, allowing Alexa “to make the memories last” when “so many of us have lost someone during the pandemic, whom they love”.

In an explainer video, Amazon showed a child asking, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading me The Wizard of Oz?” at this point, the assistant’s normally artificial voice shifted into a softer, more natural timbre. The point was that it should sound convincingly like the child’s grandma.

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