While talking to a voice assistant has proven to be useful in enabling technology to do our bidding whenever we ask, it just not the same as talking to a human being. No matter what you tell it, it just never responds with emotion. Though some might argue that this is a positive.
However, times are changing and the dreams of AI becoming more and more lifelike is becoming closer as Amazon announced that developers can now have Alexa respond to questions from US users with a “happy/excited” or a “disappointed/empathetic” tone based on what you ask them. Amazon suggests the happy/excited tone could be used when you answer a trivia question correctly, for example, or that the disappointed/empathetic tone could be used when you ask for a sports score and your favourite team has lost. It’s not clear how long it will take before it will eventually get disappointed when you keep asking it to check the same mundane thing you do every day or realise, that perhaps it has been stuck with an owner who is well and truly an idiot.
And while is clear from the above videos that Amazon still has a long way to go before making our interaction with Alexa feel human, it’s impressive what they have been able to achieve here. Amazon has been making big waves in trying to add more inflection points and styles to its different Alexa voices (including a Samuel L Jackson version) and appears to be ahead of the competition.
Last Updated: November 27, 2019