Tech

Amazon's Alexa Might Be Using the Voices of Your Dead Loved Ones Soon

Another Black Mirror episode comes into fruition.
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

We are living through some very weird times indeed. In a development straight out of a near-future dystopia, Amazon has introduced us to a new feature where its popular voice assistant Alexa can now replicate a deceased individual's speech patterns. Yikes.

During Amazon's re:MARS conference, Alexa AI (artificial intelligence) Senior Vice President and Head Scientist Rohit Prasad expressed optimism that this new AI technology can "enrich people's lives." He showed the audience a demo of what that was going to sound like, and suffice to say, it was stunning. In the video, a young boy asks Alexa if his grandmother can finish reading him a story instead of Alexa. You know what happened next, right? It did.

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"While AI can't eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last," Prasad explained. “We are unquestionably living in the golden era of AI, where our dreams and science fiction are becoming a reality.”

Yes, it sounds familiar because we've heard it from Black Mirror before. In the season 2 opener of the Netflix dystopian anthology series, "Be Right Back" shows us a woman who discovers new technology that would allow her to communicate with a dead boyfriend based on online interactions and voice patterns.

Alexa has used the voices of celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal in the past, but this takes it to the next level. For the new feature, Alexa will only need a minute of recorded audio from the deceased to do this, too. The new Black Mirror-esque concept, however, hasn't been announced for public use just yet.

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