Amazon wants Alexa to speak to you in the voice of your deceased relative

An Amazon Alexa smart device on the left with the confused guy meme on the right

Call this weird but Amazon has decided that it wants Alexa to mimic the voice of your deceased relative. This strange revelation was made at the company's annual re:Mars conference where Amazon's Senior Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, detailed a range of new features coming to the smart assistant soon.

The on-stage demo showcased a use-case where Alexa read a bedtime story to a child in the voice of his dead grandmother. Prasad stated that:

This required inventions where we had to learn to produce a high-quality voice with less than a minute of recording versus hours of recording in the studio. The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path. We are unquestionably living in the golden era of AI, where our dreams and science fictions are becoming a reality.

Amazon claims that voice can be synthesized using just one minute of audio as an input.

Although Amazon didn't describe other use-cases, the one that it demonstrated does have fairly odd vibes to it. Maybe Amazon meant it to be wholesome moment but hearing the synthesized audio of a dearly departed relative through a smart speaker just isn't my cup of tea.

Details about availability and other potential use-cases are scarce at the moment. It remains to be seen how Amazon will market this "feature" to a wider audience. Who knows, maybe Amazon will market it as the digital Ouija board for this generation.

Source: TechCrunch

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