In a statement made by Amazon, their Alexa system is reportedly getting an update. And as reports reveal, people can’t decide if this update is endearing, or just really creepy.
According to reports, Amazon’s Alexa may soon have the capability to replicate the voice of a loved one in your life. Namely a loved one who is no longer living in the world today.
Creepy or Endearing: Amazon’s Alexa Could Start Taking on the Voice of a Loved One in Your Life
In a video that explains how the update will work, you can hear someone asking Alexa if “Grandma can finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” After acknowledging the request, Alexa’s voice switches to a voice that mimics the child’s grandmother.
That voice remains as Alexa reads the child the book they requested. Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, said this new ability is so important for families.
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“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad said. “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”
But how does it work exactly? Prasad explained that it is different from other voice generators in that you won’t need to spend hours recording your loved one’s voice.
Instead, Prasad continued to explain that it is created through a mixture of a recording and AI. While that’s the furthest the explanation went, it is believed that you will at least need one recording of your loved one’s voice in order to take full advantage of this new update.
With that said, a lot of people are creeped out by this new option. “This is definitely a hard no from me, one of the creepiest suggestions I’ve heard in a long time,” one Twitter user wrote.
“A key part of processing loss is letting go. Having my dead father tell me it’s time to take a cake out of the oven or that 2M is 6ft 7″ would be incredibly weird.”
Others worried about the safety issues this new advancement in technology could create. “This does not sound safe,” another Twitter user argued. “You could have it say things over the phone and accuse people of things they did not say or do. Seems invasive.”
The announcement of this update comes after Microsoft decided to scale back its push for AI. As Microsoft explained that it would be instead setting stricter guidelines to “ensure the active participation of the speaker” whose voice is being re-created, re-generated, and re-used.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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