Amazon's Alexa may soon have the ability to replicate the voice of family members, even if they are deceased.

The new feature was revealed at Amazon's Mars Conference in Las Vegas. They are developing a way for the device to mimic the voice of a specific person based on a less-than-a-minute of provided recording.

Senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, said the desire behind the feature was to build greater trust in the interactions users have with Alexa by putting more “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love. While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

-Rohit Prasad

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At the event on Wednesday Amazon played a video featuring a young child and her grandmother. The litter girl asks, “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” Alexa then accepts the request and switches to another voice mimicking the child’s grandmother. Alexa continues to read the book in the grandmother's voice.

Prasad said the company had to learn how to make a “high-quality voice” with a shorter recording, as opposed to hours of recording in a studio.

Queue all the "the government is listening to me" people. This surly has sparked concerns with some Amazon Alexa users.

Woman Lying On Sofa Asking Digital Assistant Or Smart Speaker Question
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“This technology has exciting potential in education, accessibility, and entertainment, and yet it is also easy to imagine how it could be used to inappropriately impersonate speakers and deceive listeners,” said a blog post from Natasha Crampton, who heads Microsoft’s AI ethics division.

Read More Here: NBC News

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