Is that you, Walter Cronkite?
Amazon unveiled a feature that alters Alexa’s voice to imitate the way broadcast news anchors read the news. When users ask “Alexa, what’s the latest,” the assistant will dive into the daily briefing with a more formal tone.
The voice still sounds like the old Alexa, but her emphasis is distinctly reminiscent of the nightly news. The digital assistant’s voice will also change when reading Wikipedia pages.
The company essentially took its text-to-speech feature and gave it a neural network upgrade. Using deep learning and an approach called direct waveform modeling, Amazon scientists were able to create a more natural sounding voice.
“The ability to teach Alexa to adapt her speaking style based on the context of the customer’s request opens the possibility to deliver new and delightful experiences that were previously unthinkable,” Andrew Breen, senior manager with the TTS research team at Amazon, said in a blog post.
Here’s the original voice followed by the newscaster upgrade: