AMAZON Alexa may one day be able to speak to you in the voice of a friend, family member or loved one who has passed away.
According to reports, the spooky feature is currently being tested by Amazon.
That’s touted as a way to “make memories last,” according to Sky News, which detailed the feature during its re:MARS conference on Wednesday in LA’s Vegas.
The goal, said Rohit Prasad, Amazon senior vice president, is to “make the memories last” after “so many of us have lost someone we love during the pandemic.”
The US retail giant then showed a video segment that portrayed a child asking Alexa if “grandma can finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?”. before the AI assistant confirms the command and changes her voice.
The idea is that after hearing someone’s voice for less than a minute, Alexa can simulate that voice when speaking.
It’s not clear how far along this new feature is in development — or if it’ll be rolled out at all.
But there are already mixed reactions from people on Twitter.
Some call it “terrifying,” others liken it to something straight out of an episode of Black Mirror.
Twitter user @neontaster commented on the news, saying, “Black Mirror is meant to be a warning, not a pitch.”
User @MakeItRayn_ agreed, adding, “Black Mirror couldn’t even predict this kind of horror”.
Another user @vardmin said: “My mum has been dead for four years and I couldn’t watch old home videos.
“There’s no way I can handle this.”
While @Shadoriam_ttv tweeted: “Wait until it starts at about 3am. How scary it would be to hear the voice of a dead person.”
Meanwhile, @mo_aug3 saw a more positive side: “I don’t want this, but if it’s any comfort to anyone, fine. Grief is a black hole.”
Voice mimic technology could also raise potential security concerns if it’s able to perfectly imitate human voices.
While judging by our experience with Alexa and its ability to misinterpret simple commands, we doubt it will be the case for some time.
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