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.
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