One day, Amazon Alexa will be able to speak to you with the voice of dead friends and family.
The new feature was mentioned Wednesday at Amazon’s re: MARS conference as a way to “preserve memories.” After listening to someone’s voice for less than a minute, Alexa would be able to simulate that voice while speaking. According Sky News.
It’s not clear how far this feature is in development or when it can be implemented in Alexa voice assistants. The re: MARS (for Machine Learning, Automation, Robots, and Space) event highlights what Amazon is doing in terms of environmental computing, including advances in Alexa, so we might not see this feature anytime soon.
There are also potential safety concerns about being able to accurately reproduce your voice pattern, although we’ll hold off on judging until we know just how much Alexa can imitate a voice after hearing it for such a short period of time. We will also see how this feature is perceived – while users seem to have to consent to use it, there is an ethical question regarding the deceased’s voting rights and how long it can be stored on company devices or servers.
The voice mimic function is clearly not intended for deceased family members, an Amazon spokesman confirmed topwatchbest. It is based on recent advances in text-to-speech technology explained in a recent one Amazon White Paperwhere the team produced a high-quality voice with much less data, using a voice filter instead of spending hours recording voice in a professional studio.