July 6, 2022

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Alexa will quickly be capable to discuss utilizing a cherished one's voice (even when they're useless)

As good voice assistants proceed to evolve, the scope of issues they will obtain grows ever extra spectacular – typically scarily so.

On the annual re:MARS convention hosted by Amazon in Las Vegas, U.S., Rohit Prasad – the corporate’s Senior Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa – unveiled a slew of recent and soon-to-be-implemented options for its well-known good assistant.

Essentially the most eye-catching function of all, nevertheless, was a brand new functionality for Alexa that may enable it to artificially synthesize brief audio clips into plausible spoken passages, or in less complicated phrases, taking a voice pattern and utilizing it to create full spoken sentences in the identical tone and timbre.

The Alexa workforce demoed the brand new function throughout the occasion by presenting a situation during which Alexa makes use of the voice of a useless grandmother to learn a bedtime story to just a little boy.

“Alexa, can grandma end studying me the Wizard of Oz?” the boy asks, earlier than the voice assistant begins narrating a part of the story in a generic voice, which then easily transitions into that of the late relative.

Prasad defined that Alexa may mimic nearly anybody’s voice after listening to a recording of it for lower than a minute, which handily beats prior related applied sciences which might have required hours of studio work.

“The way in which we made it occur is by framing the issue as a voice conversion process and never a speech era path,” Prasad stated. “We’re unquestionably residing within the golden period of AI, the place our goals and science fictions have gotten actuality.”

And Prasad added that whereas such a tech is not one thing that may utterly get rid of the ache of dropping a cherished one, “it will probably undoubtedly make their recollections final”.

Effectively, we’re aren’t too positive if such a function could be extra spectacular or freaky to customers, particularly when you think about how so many individuals have a tough time letting go of their family members.

Already, we have seen how loopy (and heartbreaking) issues can get when tech is used to meddle or recreate an individual’s persona/picture past their dying, like within the Black Mirror episode Be Proper Again”, and even in actual life like when a mom bought reunited together with her useless daughter via using VR.

Whereas the tech is undoubtedly cool, we’re undecided if utilizing it to revive a useless cherished one is one of the best path to go. However then once more, who is aware of if this might find yourself changing into an efficient approach of serving to grieving people address loss.

Our greatest guess is that solely time will inform.

At present, no particulars have been launched relating to this new function, however with issues transferring so rapidly on this planet of tech, it would not be one bit shocking to see it carried out within the close to future – possibly even by an organization reminiscent of Google, if not Amazon themselves.

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Cowl picture sourced from Tom’s Information and Psych Central.