Amazon teaching Alexa to mimic voices of dead people

Since the launch of Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers in 2014, Amazon has made rapid progress in digital voice assistant technology and has garnered maximum market share in most global regions.

Over the past couple of years, Amazon has even managed to introduce celebrity voice-over for Alexa including Pulp Fiction movie fame Samuel J Jackson and Indian Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan. 

In India, Amazon has even tried offering cricket match analysis in popular commentator Harsh Bhogle’s voice.

Based on an advanced voice recognition algorithm and hundreds of hours of voice data, Amazon has been able to empower Alexa to speak in celebrity voices.

Now, Amazon is gone a notch up with the voice technology and says, it can now enable Alexa to mimic the voices of normal users with less than a minute of voice record sample.

During the ongoing Amazon’s global AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning (ML) conference re:MARS 2022 (June 21-24), Las Vegas,  Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist of Alexa AI at Amazon showed off an unusual demo where-in Alexa mimicked the voice of a dead relative to a child.

Prasad said that AI may not completely attenuate the pain of people grieving over the death of a loved one but may help in offering human-like empathy and keeping the warm memories alive for eternity.

In the video (below), you can see a kid ask — “Can Grandma finish reading me The Wizard of Oz?” Then, Alexa responds with “okay,” and goes on to speak in the voice of the child’s grandmother.

The demo may come off weird and creepy to some, but others welcome the new technology that allows users to hold on to the sweet memories with voice samples of lost loved ones.

As of now, there is no official word, on when Amazon makes this feature to Alexa devices around the world.

Check out the Amazon’s re:MARS 2022 event recap:

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