At the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas Amazon presented a new function of the assistant Alexa, which would allow imitating the voice of any person. The video presented featured a child whose bedtime stories are read to him by Alexa, in the voice of his dead grandmother! Read in this post how this could change the marketing industry and what other implications are associated with such a solution.
Soon, such a well-known Alexa voice can be replaced by the voice of any other person. The only condition will be to provide the source material from which the artificial intelligence will gather data and recreate the voice of the person from the recording. According to Rohit Prasad, senior vice president of Amazon, it only takes less than a minute of audio recording for the process to be successful. This opens up a lot of opportunities to personalise your Alexa assistant, which in turn is causing some controversy.
Using this feature, you will be able to upload the voice of your favorite celebrities, friends, family, or your own, as well as the voice of a deceased person, as Amazon presented at the re:MARS conference.
The question here is, how ethical is such an option? At the end of the day, it creates the risk of using other people’s voices in a way that is not authorised by them.
Micheal Inouye of ABI Research points to another problem with this innovation. Namely, the inaccurate representation of the voice and the incompatibility of artificial intelligence interactions with those natural to the voice owner. This may deter and discourage potential users of the program, especially considering the possible occurrence of the uncanny valley effect.
Looking at current trends, we can expect to see more of this type of solution and research progressing in this direction. There is already a growing use of holograms of deceased people in the entertainment industry (e.g., the use of Whitney Houston’s hologram in the 2016 finale of The Voice). Even if such innovations cause concern now, the community exposed to them will become less skeptical over time.
As Prasad points out, Alexa’s ability to recreate a voice is nothing short of adding human-like qualities to artificial intelligence, which could be especially important “in times of ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost loved ones.” Such an option certainly won’t be a remedy for loss, but it will help preserve memories. Additionally, as presented by Amazon, a grandchild who never had the opportunity to meet their grandmother will be able to listen to stories read by her. Even if it’s just a voice reproduced by the artificial intelligence, Alexa.
In the marketing world, constructing such a vocal app means even greater effectiveness in creating a connection with customers and revolutionizing the User Experience. Beyond text and images, companies will be able to use assistants that mimic any voice to improve branding and communicate more efficiently with their audience. This new technology will definitely change the game in the field.
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