Amazon has announced a new Alexa feature, which would see it mimicking the voices of the dead.
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“Make the memories last,” Amazon has said of the terrifying, Black Mirror-esque technology. If you’ve ever wanted to eternally enslave your dead loved ones as your digital assistant, I guess today’s a great day for you.
Alexa’s newest feature — though still in development — will be able to mimic any person’s voice based on short audio clips.
But experts say the technology could bring security and ethical problems. https://t.co/pfVCDIwhmP
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 23, 2022
“The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path,” Senior Vice-President and Head Scientist Rohit Prasad tells The Guardian of the Alexa feature.
The technology has reportedly existed for years, and now Alexa can capture someone’s voice with less than a minute of recorded audio.
In a presentation yesterday (June 22nd), Amazon demonstrated the feature in a chilling presentation. During the presentation, a young boy asked, “Can grandma finish reading me The Wizard of Oz?” and his dead grandmother’s voice began to snake out of the virtual assistant.
Prasad thought the idea would be perfect because of the ongoing pandemic, as “so many of us have lost someone we love.”
“While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss it can definitely make their memories last,” Prasad adds.
According to Mashable, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company has been exploring this feature after recent advancements in text-to-speech (TTS) technology.
Luckily for those who are entirely freaked out by this feature, Amazon hasn’t yet revealed a specific timeline for its release.