The company announced on Wednesday during its annual re: MARS conference, which focuses on artificial intelligence innovation, that it is working on an update to its Alexa system that will allow the technology to mimic every voice, even a deceased family member. .
Rohit Prasad, senior vice president of Amazon, said the updated system would be able to collect enough voice data in less than a minute of audio to make such a personalization possible, instead of forcing someone to spend hours in a recording studio. the past. Prasad did not specify when this feature could be launched. Amazon declined to comment on the timeline.
The concept stems from Amazon looking for new ways to add more “human attributes” to artificial intelligence, especially “in these times of ongoing pandemic, when so many of us have lost someone we love,” Prasad said. “While AI can’t remove this pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”
Adam Wright, a senior analyst at IDC Research, said he saw value in Amazon’s efforts.
“I think Amazon is interested because they have the capabilities and the technology, and they’re always looking for ways to enhance the smart assistant and the smart home experience,” Wright said. “Whether that leads to a deeper connection with Alexa, or just becomes a skill that some people practice from time to time, remains to be seen.”
Amazon’s foray into Alexa’s personalized voices can be fought most by the incredible effect of the valley – recreating a voice that is so similar to a loved one, but not quite right, leading to rejection by real people.
“There are certainly some risks, such as the voice and the resulting interactions with artificial intelligence, that do not match well with the memories of loved ones,” said Michael Inoye of ABI Research. For some, they will see this as scary or downright awful, but for others it may be seen in more depth, such as the example of allowing a child to hear the voice of his grandparents, perhaps for the first time. in a way, this is not a strict record of the past. “
However, he believes that various reactions to messages such as this indicate how society will have to adapt to the promise of innovation and its eventual reality in the coming years.
“We will definitely see more of these kinds of experiments and trials – and at least until we reach a higher level of comfort or these things become more widespread, there will still be a wide range of answers,” he said.