Amazon’s Alexa could soon speak in a dead relative’s voice, making some feel uneasy
A new feature of Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is an ability to speak in a real person’s voice, which is making some people uncomfortable. That’s because the device can be programmed to use the voices of deceased persons, like departed family members. Response to the idea on social media included “creepy” and “morbid.” Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science, says the reactions can be instructive. Amazon’s demonstration of the voice-replicating tool should make the public more aware of the growing capability of using synthetic voices, Kambhampati says, and should remind us that in a world of these technologies we cannot rely solely on our own ears to discern the true source of what we are hearing. He was also interviewed on the topic on the “Morning Wave Busan” radio program in South Korea.