You will soon be able to ask Amazon Alexa to read a story in a loved one’s voice

Virgin Radio

23 Jun 2022, 09:55

Amazon Echo products

Credit: Getty

Amazon has just announced their latest voice recognition feature for the Alexa system.

During the re:MARS conference, senior vice president and head scientist at Amazon, Rohit Prasad, shared a new function which could allow for a mimicking voice setting, as reported by TechCrunch+.

The new technology was demonstrated in video form, in which a young child asks Alexa: “Can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?”

The robotic tones of the Alexa we all know starts the reading, but then the voice slowly turns into a much more human voice. 

During the demonstration, Prasad explained: “This required inventions where we had to learn to produce a high-quality voice with less than a minute of recording versus hours of recording in the studio.

“The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path. We are unquestionably living in the golden era of artificial intelligence, where our dreams and science fiction are becoming a reality.”

The idea behind the inventive feature is to provide comfort to people, which is reportedly what the team behind Alexa wanted from the very beginning. 

There is currently no timeline for the new update, but there has already been some questions raised on social media about how the function will work, and its stark similarity to an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. In the first episode of series 2, starring Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson, a grieving widow uses artificial intelligence to talk to her deceased husband, with some very distressing outcomes. 

One Twitter user wrote: “Black Mirror was supposed to be a dystopian warning, not some manual to follow,” while another argued: “Rule of thumb; If it happened in black mirror, IT. SHOULD. NOT. EXIST.”

Before we get to hear from loved ones via Alexa, here’s a cheat code that will unlock ‘Super Alexa’ instead. 

It's all thanks to a TikTok user who shared the news that there's a secret cheat code to activate "Super Alexa".

Meg, also known as @jiggywrigglersfareham, was the one to share the code.

When you give Alexa the code, it activates 'Super Mode.'