Amazon Alexa Voice Can Sound Like Your Dead Relative: How It Works

At the Amazon Tech Summit, the tech giant teased a technology that could be cool or creepy or even controversial. An Echo Dot was asked to perform a task with the voice of a deceased relative of the user and the thing responded with that voice. While Amazon shows off endearing use cases like how to get the feeling of talking to a deceased loved one, the question is whether bad actors would also share the right intentions. Can we also let Alexa speak in the voices of our favorite celebrities?

Amazon Alexa Voice: How This Technology Could Work

Amazon Echo

Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and chief scientist Alexa artificial intelligence said the technology uses AI to synthesize voices based on the data from short audio clips sent to the machine learning system. The result is intended to have “human characteristics of empathy and affect.”

The biggest value proposition is that the new Alexa voice can “make” [loved ones’] memories remain”.

But not everyone buys this Amazon claim.

Amazon Echo

Rachel Tobac, chief executive of San Francisco-based SocialProof Security, doesn’t think the “easy-to-use speech cloning technology” is ready. Speaking to the Washington Post, she adds, “If a cybercriminal can easily and credibly replicate someone else’s voice with a small voice sample, they can use that voice sample to impersonate other people. That bad actor can then trick others into believing that they are the person they are impersonating, which can lead to fraud, data loss, account takeover and more.”

Not to mention the ethical concerns whether the approval of the deceased is required to use the technology in this way. So there are a lot of things to think about before the technology one day becomes a reality.

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