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Amazon’s Alexa could soon mimic voice of dead relatives


Amazon Echo and Echo Plus units, behind, sit close to illuminated Echo Button units throughout an occasion by the corporate in Seattle on Sept. 27, 2017. Amazon’s Alexa would possibly quickly replicate the voice of relations – even when they’re lifeless. The aptitude, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars convention in Las Vegas Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is in growth and would permit the digital assistant to imitate the voice of a selected individual based mostly on a lower than a minute of offered recording. Credit: AP Picture/Elaine Thompson, File

Amazon’s Alexa would possibly quickly replicate the voice of relations—even when they’re lifeless.

The aptitude, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars convention in Las Vegas, is in growth and would permit the virtual assistant to imitate the voice of a selected individual based mostly on a lower than a minute of offered recording.

Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, stated on the occasion Wednesday that the need behind the function was to construct better belief within the interactions customers have with Alexa by placing extra “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad stated. “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

In a video performed by Amazon on the occasion, a young child asks “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” Alexa then acknowledges the request, and switches to a different voice mimicking the kid’s grandmother. The voice assistant then continues to learn the guide in that very same voice.

To create the function, Prasad stated the corporate needed to discover ways to make a “high-quality voice” with a shorter recording, against hours of recording in a studio. Amazon didn’t present additional particulars in regards to the function, which is certain to spark extra privacy concerns and ethical questions about consent.

Amazon’s push comes as competitor Microsoft earlier this week stated it was scaling again its artificial voice choices and setting stricter pointers to “ensure the active participation of the speaker” whose voice is recreated. Microsoft stated Tuesday it’s limiting which clients get to make use of the service—whereas additionally persevering with to spotlight acceptable makes use of akin to an interactive Bugs Bunny character at AT&T shops.

“This technology has exciting potential in education, accessibility, and entertainment, and yet it is also easy to imagine how it could be used to inappropriately impersonate speakers and deceive listeners,” stated a weblog put up from Natasha Crampton, who heads Microsoft’s AI ethics division.


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