Those weird “loved ones come back from the dead to visit you” stunts pulled by celebrities like Kanye West may soon become a reality through your digital assistant.
At Amazon’s re:MARS conference, the company announced it’s working on a feature that can synthesize short audio clips of a person’s voice and then reprogram it as longer speech. Amazon’s Senior Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, showed off a demonstration where, as TechCrunch described, “the voice of a deceased loved one (a grandmother, in this case), is used to read a grandson a bedtime story.”
Prasad noted that the company can do this sort of audio output with merely a minute of speech before continuing: “The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path.”
There aren’t many more details beyond this initial demonstration. Reuters reports that Prahad mentions the goal of this technology is to “make memories last” after “so many of us have lost someone we love,” which makes it seem rather intense.