Watch: Amazon’s Alexa mimics dead relative’s voice

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Why is Amazon's Alexa Laughing and Creeping People Out?

The product’s head scientist wants to build greater trust in interactions between users and the device

Amazon’s Alexa may soon replicate the voice of users’ family members, both dead and alive, according to a report by NBC News. Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, made the announcement at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The head scientist said that the feature is intended to place more trust between users and the device through “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad said. “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

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Amazon demonstrated the new feature during the event, where a child asked “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” The device swiftly shifted its voice to mimic the child’s grandmother before finishing the story. The demonstration, as well as Prasad’s full presentation, can be seen within the video posted above.

The feature is designed to mimic a person’s voice based on less than a minute of provided recording. The company, however, did not provide any further details on the new proposed feature.