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At Amazon’s Re:Mars global AI event on June 22, the company announced that it is currently developing a feature that would enable Alexa voice assistant to imitate any voice — specifically dead family members.
Alexa voice assistant already allows you to access a handful of features using famous voices like Shaquille O’Neal, Melissa McCarthy, Samuel L. Jackson, Deadpool and R2-D2. But this new feature would seemingly allow Echo users full access to all commands with responses in any voice you choose.
Whether you find the new feature creepy or clever, our first thought wasn’t necessarily friends or family. We immediately started thinking of all the celebrities we’d love to hear tell us about the weather or how many ounces in a pound.
A demonstration from the Amazon tech summit featured a panda-themed Echo Dot, which was asked, “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me ‘The Wizard of Oz?’” After a response of “Okay” in Alexa’s regular voice, a human narrator began to read the book in “grandma’s voice.”
I’m not going to lie, it felt a bit weird at first, but the reality is that with technology moving a such a rapid pace, it was only a matter of time before we entered this phase of artificial intelligence.
The Re:Mars demonstration offered the first glimpse into the feature, showing the world just how the voice assistant would be able to replicate people’s voices from short audio clips. So that leaves the question: Which celebrity would you choose to narrate your Alexa voice assistant?
Imagine if your Alexa spoke to you in Elvis’ drawl or Judy Garland’s quaver. Maybe answers will hold a little more gravitas if they come from James Earl Jones. And if you have kids, why not set up a Mickey Mouse or Fraggle option?
With this intriguing new upgrade in the works for the Alexa voice assistant, the choice will be all yours. And with no release date announced just yet, you still have some time to think about it.