Alexa stops supporting celebrity voices on track for possible re-adaptation to the ChatGPT era

Brian Adam

Amazon is backtracking on supporting celebrity voices in Alexa, its well-known virtual assistant. This has been a distinctive feature whereby users could purchase celebrity voices at a low price and then invoke the use of any of the purchased voices and make requests to it.

Alexa has come to feature the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melisssa McCarthy, but users are now finding that they can no longer purchase voices, or even use the voice of Samuel L. Jackson despite having previously purchased it.


fun is over

The Alexa page dedicated to Samuel L. Jackson notes that users have been able to use their voice until April 30. However, the voices of Shaquille O’Neal and Melisssa McCarthy may be used for a while longer, until September 30.

Keep in mind that support for the voice of Samuel L. Jackson came in 2019 while support for the voices of Shaquille O’Neal, and Melisssa McCarthy arrived in 2021. In any case, you also have to consider the limitations that involve interactions with celebrity voices, being incompatible with features like shopping lists and more.

The reason for the retreat is unknown.

Since the publication The Verge they have not been able to know the exact reason for the mark back and considers that behind this decision there are broader problems with Alexa, pointing to a series of reports from other publications, ranging from operational losses to mass layoffs. that affected workers from the Alexa and Echo division.

But it also points to yet another report that sounds much more logical.

He cites a recent Insider report that indicates that the company is considering reworking Alexa to adapt it to the current situation where generative Artificial Intelligence is gaining a lot of ground, with ChatGPT at the forefront, despite the fact that it is in an experimental phase.


Alexa, like other assistants, would be becoming obsolete in the face of generative AI

And it is not for less since we have seen that with chatbots voice interactions are also being allowed, either natively or through third-party applications that make it possible, also taking into account the massive arrival of applications based on different models of generative AI.

In this way, Amazon could make Alexa “more proactive and conversational”, so that the use of celebrity voices does not fit into the new conception of Alexa to deal with ChatGPT and other chatbot models. by generative AI that have been emerging in recent months.

The bad thing is that Amazon has not yet spoken, so it is unknown what direction Alexa will be able to take in the new paradigm that has opened up with the rise of generative AI models.