Lifestyle

Amazons Alexa to mimic voices of dead relatives as new feature is announced

From setting alarms to playing music to even answering those random questions that spring to mind,Amazon ’s Alexa is a pretty useful thing to have around.

And while these nifty features may be extremely revolutionary when it comes to day-to-day tasks, things could be set to get even more advanced, according to Amazon.

The company has recently revealed that the voice assistant could use the voices of dead people “to make memories last”, as reported byWalesOnline.

In a forthcoming update, Amazon said that it would be able to channel dead people in addition to mimicking the voice of anyone it hears.

For the feature to work, users are required to feed the system with a minute of recorded audio which is then used by the voice assistant to formulate a new voice.

Speaking of the move, Rohit Prasad, Amazon senior vice-president and head scientist for the company, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that “so many of us have lost someone we love”.

With grief taking all shapes and forms, Amazon emphasised that the new update would not “eliminate [the] pain of loss” but could help “make their memories last”.

Despite the announcement, the company kept tight-lipped when it came to when, or whether, the potential feature would be introduced, so it’s uncertain when users could see this latest rollout.

However, the underlying technology used for this advancement has existed for many years.

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During a demonstration, the company reanimated the voice of an older woman in order to read her grandson a bedtime story after he asked Alexa: “Can grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?”

“The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path,” added Mr Prasad.

Following the news, social media has remained divided about the advancement, with some taking to Twitter to express their delight while others appeared to be more sceptical.

The AI update is just one of Amazon’s innovative launches in recent months.

Last October, the shopping giant made it easier for people to send parcels to loved ones andallowed people to send gifts even if they didn’t know a person’s address.

As part of the feature, users are able to instantly send items so long as they have the recipient’s email address or mobile phone number.

More so, the new Amazon service feature also lets people swap their gifts if they weren’t quite what they were hoping for without the sender knowing.

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