Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to read you stories in the voice of a loved one – even if they’re dead | Science and technology news
Soon, you could have a loved one tell you stories, play music, or just turn on the lights—all from your Alexa device.
Amazon says it wants to “make memories last” and is developing a system that would allow its assistant to mimic any voice after listening to audio for less than a minute.
So maybe your Alexa will soon be able to mimic your late grandmother, a long-lost friend, or probably someone on TV.
The goal is to “make the memories last” after “so many of us have lost someone we love during the pandemic,” said Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s senior vice president.
The news follows discussion of a Google chatbot, which one engineer claimed was sentient and could express thoughts and feelings.
At a conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, a video segment showed a child asking, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading The Wizard of Oz to me?”
A moment later, Alexa acknowledged the command and changed her voice.
She spoke soothingly, less robotically, and reportedly sounded like the individual’s real-life grandmother.
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But Amazon’s work breaks into an area of technology that has been studied for potential benefits and abuses.
microsoft corp recently restricted which companies can use its software to mimic voices.
The goal is to help people with speech disabilities or other issues, but some fear it could also be used to spread political deepfakes.
Mr Prasad said Amazon’s goal for Alexa is “generalizable intelligence,” or the ability to adapt to user environments and learn new concepts with little outside input.
He said the goal is “not to be confused with the all-knowing, all-capable, above-average artificial general intelligence,” or AGI, which Alphabet’s DeepMind unit and Elon Musk’s co-founded OpenAI are aiming for.