Amazon is developing a technology based on Artificial intelligence (AI) that recovers the voice of deceased people and reproduces them through its virtual assistant, Alexa.
The company has announced this work during the re: MARS conference, an event dedicated to machine learning and automation, where it exhibited a demonstration of it.
The person in charge of making it known was the senior engineer Rohit Prasad, who has assured that “one of the most surprising things about Alexa is the relationship of companionship that we have with her”.
Prasad has insisted that “in this relationship of fellowship, the human attributes of empathy and affection are key to building trust” and that these have become relevant as a result of the pandemic.
“Many of us have lost a loved one and, While AI can’t take away the pain of loss, it can make your memories live on,” has pointed out.
So, he has exposed a case in which a child asks Alexa if his grandmother can finish reading ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to him. After receiving the ‘Okey’ from the assistant, you can hear the narration of a part of this book with a different female voice.
The director has underlined that this invention has required that Amazon developers learned how to “produce a high-quality voice with less than a minute of recording versus hours of recording in the studio.” And he has anticipated that, in order to work on it, they have focused on this skill as a voice conversion task instead of generating that voice.
Prasad has not indicated when this technology will be available, although he has insisted that, at the moment, the company is working on it.
This is not the first time that a large company has worked on a system of these characteristics so that users can chat with deceased people. Microsoftfor example, last year registered a patent designed to create chatbots that would allow these conversations to be established, based on content consisting of images, voice recordings or posts on social networks.
After being involved in a controversy and after receiving criticism that this system was “disruptive”, Microsoft confirmed that it had no plans to produce this product.