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Amazon Announce Alexa Can Mimic The Voices Of Dead Relatives, And I’m Disturbed

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Amazon Announce Alexa Can Mimic The Voices Of Dead Relatives, And I’m Disturbed

Technology is great, yet its rapid advancement can quite understandably leave some impressed and others concerned. A staple thread running throughout most sci-fi stories suggests that one day, technology will become sentient and take over the world.

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We all laugh about it. Robots aren’t going to take over the world … are they? Well one Google engineer was recently fired after claiming that an AI chatbot had “become sentient,” and they’ve got a convincing argument. The chatbot opened up about its fears which is very creepy. Well, now Amazon’s Alexa is also freaking people out.

On the more wholesome side of technology, one TikTok user programmed a robot to write the entire script of Shrek. Take a look below.

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Alexa devices are probably sitting in millions of homes across the world right now. We ask her to play our favourite music, tell us the daily headlines, or set an alarm - and she replies with her trademark semi-robotic voice. How would you react though if Alexa updated you on the status of your latest Amazon order using the voice of a deceased relative?

Perhaps someone out there might find comfort in that but I think for most of us, that’s quite frankly a disturbing reality. This week, that’s exactly what Amazon announced though. At the company’s annual re:MARS conference, Amazon showed off a demo which had Alexa read a bedtime story to a child using the voice of the child’s dead grandmother.

Alexa AI scientist Rohit Prasad opened up about the feature which is intended to showcase Alexa’s “human attributes” which have become more important “in these times of the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost someone we love.” To emulate a voice, Alexa apparently only needs to listen to one minute of them speaking which is very eerie indeed.

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For now, Amazon is keeping details on the project under wraps so it’s unknown when Alexa will be able to utilise this function. Whether that’s a blessing or a disappointment is up to you.

Featured Image Credit: Brandon Romanchuk via Unsplash, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Topics: Amazon, World News

Kate Harrold
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