Amazon is taking a real personal direction with the latest Alexa update! Consumers will soon be able to replace the device’s robotic voice with a family member’s voice, whether they’re alive or dead.
According to CNBC, the company demonstrated the upgrade on Wednesday during their tech summit Re: Mars. The video showed a child commanding an Echo Dot to read a bedtime story using the help of a special guest–the child’s grandmother.
“Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz,” the child asked.
The voice assistant confirmed the request in its familiar voice but switched to a more humanlike tone.
“Instead of Alexa’s voice reading the book, it’s the kid’s grandma’s voice,” Senior Vice President and Alexa’s Head Scientist Rohit Prasad said.
And according to Rohit, when the feature development is complete, Alexa won’t need much to work its magic. The voice assistant will require “less than a minute of recorded audio” to make the switch. However, despite the demo, it’s unclear when the feature will be available to the public.
Rohit’s Alexa team is looking to blend the “human attributes of empathy and affect” with artificial intelligence. In other words, Amazon hopes to make Alexa feel more like a companion and less like a piece of advanced technology. But the larger vision seems to be building trust with consumers while helping people stay close to loved ones.
“While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make the memories last,” VP Rohit said.
Chile, it looks like someone on the design team might’ve missed a few episodes of black mirror–if you know, you know! Thoughts on this developing upgrade?
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