INdustrycTceh INsight Logo

The Amazon Alexa mimics a deceased relative’s voice

The Amazon Alexa mimics a deceased relative's voice

June 24, 2022: -Amazon is devising a way for users to speak to their family members through its Alexa agent assistant, even following they’ve died.

At Amazon’s Re, Mars conference in Las Vegas, Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for the Alexa team, attributes a feature allowing the voice assistant to replicate a typical human voice.

In a demonstration video, a child said, “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?”

Alexa confirmed the bid with the default, robotic voice, then immediately switched to a softer, better humanlike tone, mimicking the child’s family member.

The Alexa team is developing a model allowing its agent aid to produce a high-quality voice with “less than a minute of recorded audio,” Prasad said.

The feature is in development, Prasad said. Amazon did not say when the feature would move out to the public.

While it could be manipulated to imitate any voice, Prasad suggested it could be used to support and honor a deceased family member.

Prasad said that making artificial brains chattering and companion-like has become a key focus, given that “so many of us lose someone we love” in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While AI can’t eliminate that pain of failure, it can make the memories last,” he further said.

The e-commerce giant is creating talking with Alexa more natural. He rolled out a series of features that let its voice guide copy more humanlike dialogue, even asking user questions.

The Amazon Alexa mimics a deceased relative’s voice