Whether you find it comforting or creepy depends on your disposition, but amazon found a way to make it Alexa speak in the voice of anyone, including a deceased relative.
The feature was explained by Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and chief scientist for the Alexa team, during Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 22.
Prasad said engineers had implemented AI technology to create a way for his digital assistant to mimic a voice after listening to “less than a minute” of recorded audio of the person speaking, whereas hours of recording would have been required before. study.
In a demo video played at the event, a child says, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading to me? The Wizard of Oz?» After acknowledging the child’s request in her usual voice, Alexa began to speak in a voice very similar to that of the child’s grandmother.
Prasad said engineers are still working to improve what is essentially a deepfake feature, declining to say when Amazon might release it so interested customers can get Grandad up and running again.
If raising the dead seems like a bit much, you could also have Alexa speak in the voice of someone living, like your child, brother, sister, mom, dad, best friend, or even yourself.
But at Wednesday’s event, Prasad highlighted the fact that the feature could be used to retain the memory of a loved one who has passed away, noting how many people have lost special people during the pandemic.
“While AI can’t take away that pain of loss, it can definitely make memories last,” he said.
The feature is one step away from allowing people to have natural, meaningful conversations with the deceased that include opinions and references to past events linked to that person, similar to an early episode of BlackMirror (Be Right Backseason 2) where a woman can communicate with her deceased partner through messages.
Amazon has made a small move towards this with Alexa Conversation Mode, which aims to offer more natural voice experiences with the digital assistant. Marry this with the voice of a deceased relative, and feed in some personality data for Amazon’s AI to process, and science fiction could soon become science fact.