The next potential feature of the Amazon Alexa digital assistant is the ability to impersonate a deceased relative.
Amazon is hosting re:MARS this week to highlight the company’s advances in areas such as machine learning, automation, robotics and space.
During the conference, Rohit Prasad, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist for Alexa AI at Amazon, demonstrated one way to use a voice assistant by imitating the voice of a deceased relative.
A video of this feature in action shows a child reading a book and asking Alexa, “Can Grandma finish reading The Wizard of Oz for me?” Alexa’s voice then changes to that of her grandmother, who continues to read the story.
“While the AI cannot eliminate this pain of loss, it can definitely extend their memory,” Prasad said.
It’s not yet clear when this feature will be available on Alexa-enabled devices.
The idea of using technology to keep loved ones alive is not new. Microsoft has received a patent to create a conversational chatbot modeled after anyone, including a dead person. CNN reported last year. Microsoft has stated that it has no plans to create any products.
Other startups have emerged who claim to retain someone’s identity after death.
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