Amazon Announces Alexa Can Imitate Voices of Deceased Parents – IGN

In news that is sure to raise some eyebrows, Amazon has announced an experimental feature for its voice assistant, Alexa, that will allow it to mimic the voices of deceased relatives.

At Amazon’s annual MARS conference, the company showed off a demo in which Alexa reads a story to a child using her deceased grandmother’s voice.

Rohit Prasad, chief scientist of Alexa AI at Amazon, said the feature was meant to highlight Alexa’s “human attributes” that have become more important “in these times of the ongoing pandemic where so many we have lost someone we love”.

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Prasad added that while the AI ​​can’t take away “that pain of loss,” it can perpetuate the memories of the deceased.

Amazon says its AI will be able to mimic someone’s voice after listening to just one minute of their recorded voice.

Aside from the details of how this new AI works, the internet is already discussing the ethics of such a tool. After all, not everything that has been the subject of an episode of Black Mirror can be something that people are clamoring for.

It’s worth noting that Amazon isn’t the only company experimenting with using AI to memorialize deceased loved ones. In 2021, Microsoft patented a tool that could potentially turn deceased relatives into chatbots that users could communicate with.

And it’s clear that raising the dead with technology is becoming the norm, as evidenced by the instances where CGI was used to bring back Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, or the voice of Anthony Bourdain in a recent documentary on the subject. travel author.

Would an AI imitating deceased relatives interest you? Personally, I’d rather not even though it doesn’t seem to be stopping tech companies from exploring the field.

Matt TM Kim is IGN’s Managing Editor. You can join it @lawoftd.

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