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Alexa Will Soon Be Able To Read Stories In Deceased Relative's Voices

Lisa McLoughlin

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Alexa Will Soon Be Able To Read Stories In Deceased Relative's Voices

Amazon have revealed that soon, Alexa could be able to read stories mimicking anyone’s voice, even deceased loved ones.

The tech company shared its plans to develop a system that lets the device mimic any voice after hearing less than a minute of audio during Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday (22 June).

Rohit Prasad, an Amazon senior vice president and head scientist of Alexa, previewed the feature to attendees, explaining that their aim is to 'make the memories last' with the help of the device.

Showing off the feature to the crowd in a demonstration video, attendees watched as a child is seen asking, "Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?"

A moment later, Alexa affirmed the command and then smoothy changed her voice from her usual robotic tones into the child's grandmother’s.

Amazon's Alexa could soon read you a story by a deceased loved one. Credit: CNET
Amazon's Alexa could soon read you a story by a deceased loved one. Credit: CNET

TechCrunch+ reports that Prasad said: "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 artificial intelligence, where our dreams and science fictions are becoming a reality."

Absolutely mind-boggling.

According to CNBC, Prasad said that creating artificial intelligence to provide comfort has been a goal for the virtual assistant technology, especially when 'so many of us have lost someone we love' during the pandemic.

He added that while Alexa can’t 'eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make the memories last'.

While Prasad didn’t give any details about when the feature will be available to users, the company’s announcement confirms that the days of only being able to play music or turn on the lights with Alexa are numbered.

Elsewhere in the conference, Amazon unveiled their first autonomous warehouse robots, Proteus and Cardinal.

The company shared via a press release: "Proteus will initially be deployed in the outbound GoCart handling areas in our fulfilment centres and sort centres.

"Our vision is to automate GoCart handling throughout the network, which will help reduce the need for people to manually move heavy objects through our facility and instead let them focus on more rewarding work."

While Proteus will focus on the GoCart handling areas, Cardinal can recognise and organise luggage/packages into categories and "reduce the risk of employee injuries".

We really have arrived at a new frontier of technology, haven’t we?

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Technology, Amazon

Lisa McLoughlin
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