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Alexa will be able to speak or read you a story with the voice of your grandmother even if she has passed away. It’s bad vibes

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Amazon held its re:Mars conference yesterday, and in it the head of Alexa development, Rohit Prasad, announced a new feature for this voice assistant: be able to imitate any type of voice with your voice synthesizer.

During the demonstration it was possible to see how a device configured with this new version of Alexa read a story to a child with the voice of his deceased grandmother. The option is certainly unique, but the question is whether this is really a good idea.

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Miracle or curse?

In the demo, a child would say to an Echo: “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to me?”. After responding with her robotic voice, Alexa immediately switched to a softer, human-like voice, apparently mimicking the voice of the little boy’s relative.

Those responsible for this development claim that their voice assistant is capable of producing high-quality voice “with just one minute of recorded audio“. The feature, still in development, has no estimated release date.

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For Prasad to get the artificial intelligence algorithms to converse and thus keeping company have become a priority objective for Alexa, especially given that “so many of us have lost someone we love” in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The appearance of this option inevitably reminds the chatbot that Microsoft presented at the beginning of 2021 and that it also allowed “talking” with people who had died. The controversy that surrounded this development was remarkable, and finally Microsoft decided that it was not going to continue developing it.

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