Amazon Alexa will be able to mimic the voices of deceased relatives

Amazon Alexa will be able to mimic the voices of deceased relatives
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The company announced at its annual re: MARS conference on artificial intelligence innovations on Wednesday that it is working on an update to the Alexa system, which will allow any voice of technology, even a dead family member, to mimic it.

In the video shown on stage, Amazon (AMZN) Alexa, who read the story to the young boy, demonstrated that it was her grandmother’s voice instead of her signature voice.

Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s senior vice president, said the updated system could collect enough voice data in less than a minute to allow such personalization, instead of spending hours in the recording studio. past Prasad did not specify when this feature will be launched. Amazon declined to comment on the timeline.

The concept stems from Amazon looking at new ways to add more “human attributes” to artificial intelligence, especially “during an ongoing pandemic, when most of us have lost a loved one.” “While artificial intelligence can’t alleviate the pain of this loss, it can make their memories last forever.”

Amazon has long used sounds known as the real voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O’Neal to voice Alexa. However, the artificial intelligence recreational of human voices has also improved over the past few years, especially with the use of AI and deepfake technology. For example, the three lines in Anthony Bourdain’s documentary “Roadrunner” sounded like the words of a late media personality, but were created by artificial intelligence. (This special event was alarming because the film did not clearly show that the dialogue was created with artificial intelligence and was not confirmed by Bourdain’s property). Director Morgan Neville, “We may have a documentary-ethical panel on this later” he said When The New Yorker debuted last year.
Actor Val Kilmer, who recently lost his voice due to throat cancer, collaborated with Sonantic startup to create an artificial intelligence-controlled voice for him in his new film, Top Gun: Maverick. The company used Kilmer’s archive audio footage to teach him the algorithm of speaking as an actor. Diversity.

Adam Wright, chief analyst at IDC Research, said he valued Amazon’s efforts.

“I think Amazon is interested in doing that because they have the capabilities and technology, and they’re always looking for ways to enhance the smart helper and smart home experience,” Wright said. “It creates a deeper connection with Alexa, or it becomes a skill that some people practice from time to time.”

Amazon’s access to individualized Alexa voices can combat the most bizarre valley effect – recreating a voice that is very similar to a loved one’s voice, but completely inaccurate, leading to rejection by real people.

“Of course, there are some risks, such as the interaction of sound and, consequently, artificial intelligence, which do not coincide with the memories of that person’s relatives,” said Micheal Inouye of ABI Research. “For some, it will be creepy or obviously horrible, but for others it can be considered more deeply, for example, as an example that allows a child to hear the voice of grandparents, perhaps for the first time and in some way. not noted.

However, he believes that the different reactions to such announcements speak to how society will adapt to the promises of innovation and their ultimate reality in the coming years.

“We will definitely see more such experiments and tests – and at least until we reach a higher level of comfort, or until these things become more widespread, there will still be broad responses,” he said.

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