Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Amazon’s Alexa may mimic voices of dead people: ‘Make memories last’

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“Alexa, sing this song like Grandma used to.”

Amazon announced on Wednesday, June 22, that it may soon feature the mimicking voices of customers’ dead relatives within its Alexa products. 

Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, said during the Wednesday announcement event in Las Vegas that the feature is a part of a greater initiative to build human empathy. 

Amazon Echo

Amazon announced a new feature coming along, which could allow those to “hear” the voices of their deceased relatives. (iStock)

With so many lives lost during the pandemic, Amazon believes this feature will help bring and keep connections to those no longer on this Earth.

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad said during the event, as the Associated Press reported this week. 

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“While Al can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last,” he also said. 

Amazon

Amazon may soon allow users to “hear” from old relatives. (Reuters/Carl Recine)

Although this feature is not yet accessible on Amazon’s Alexa, Amazon said this is something the company is exploring due to recent advancements in text-to-speech technology. 

Nate Michel, an Amazon spokesperson, told Fox News Digital on Friday of the announcement, “We’ve learned to produce a high-quality voice with far less data versus hours of recording in a professional studio,” he said. 

While this might seem a nostalgic and desirable feature for some — others may be less enthusiastic about it. 

Amazon

Amazon is getting mixed reviews about its latest announcement for Alexa. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

David Kessler, an author and grief expert in Los Angeles, California, spoke with Fox News Digital about the potential effects this could have on someone who may be grieving the loss of loved ones. 

“Some may find it comforting. Others may find it disturbing,” he said. 

“I think it has the potential for complicating the grieving process for some,” he also said.

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Kessler said that continuing the “bonds” with those who have passed is healthy.

“Whether Alexa will be a good embodiment of that, we don’t know that [yet],” he said. 

On social media, responses to the announcement have been skeptical for the most part.

One Twitter user wrote, “No, Alexa. Please don’t.” 

Another said, “Can’t figure out if this is brilliant or creepy!”

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The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article. 



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