Amazon and AI: Alexa speaks with the voice of deceased relatives

At the re: Mars annual internal conference for machine learning, automation and robotics in Las Vegas, Amazon’s senior vice president and chief scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, announced new features for the company’s digital voice assistant. , Alexa, for example the voice of the dead grandmother.

A short recording is enough for vocal work

Following the conference lead, he demonstrated a potentially new feature in which a short audio excerpt serves as the basis for longer, more synthesized speech output. Unlike the official digital language assistant voices, for which speakers are recorded for hours in the studio, a one-minute audio clip is enough to tell a story with a new voice.

The dead grandmother reads a story to her grandchildren

At the conference, Amazon showed improvements in voice creation technologies by recording a minute’s audio of a deceased grandmother and then reading a bedtime story to a grandson in that voice, in this case “The Wizard of Oz”. Rohit Prasad described the new possibilities saying that “we undeniably live in the golden age of artificial intelligence, where dreams and science fiction come true“wanted.

According to Prasad, the feature is meant to honor those who died during the pandemic, and while AI can’t bear the grief, it can preserve memories.

The keynote of Rohit Prasad’s presentation at re: Mars is available on YouTube and at 1:01:58 the new feature is shown.

Unknown launch

Whether Amazon will ever introduce this feature to the general public is debatable, more details on the plans are not yet available. In addition to the function shown, that of having a story read aloud in the voice of a deceased relative, there are also many other possibilities that can arouse discussion and skepticism.

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