If Samuel L. Jackson’s stately baritone woke you up with your morning alarm going off, would those Monday morning blues really bother you that much? Absurd? Not anymore. After an upgrade available later this year, Amazon’s Alexa devices will soon have celebrities lending their voices as part of a new feature where users can replace Alexa with their desired celebrity’s voice. While Jackson is the first Hollywood A-lister to sign up, more celebrities will be added next year.
The Samuel L. Jackson-voice feature will allow Alexa users to interact with artificial intelligence (AI) version of the actor via Amazon’s neural text-to-speech technology. With this feature, conversations with your Echo devices are likely to become much more entertaining, and shall we say a tad bit profane? While Jackson’s voice has several brilliant qualities, politeness of speech, is not one of them. Therefore, Amazon has planned two versions of Jackson’s voice, explicit and non-explicit, with the user controlling whether to switch the colourful language on or off.
Not just that, as per reports, Amazon is also developing a voice-activated wearable device that can detect human emotions. Codenamed ‘Dylan’, and designed to work with a smartphone app, the device has microphones paired with software that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice. So not only will Mr Jackson ask you how your day went, but also change the music according to your mood.
Amazon announced this feature at a product-reveal event in Seattle, along with updates to its video-enabled Echo Show, and the more compact Echo-Dot. The tech giant also launched new Echo units: the Dolby Atmos-enabled Echo Studio, Echo Glow, Echo Flex, and the Bose-powered wireless Echo Buds. Other updates announced at the event include new privacy options like auto-deleting voice recordings and new commands that can reveal the data your device has collected. These features come after several users expressed concern regarding Amazon’s collection and retention of users’ data, including devices recording private conversations.
However, there are no free lunches in life, and certainly not when the menu is being read by Hollywood royalty. So, how much would it cost for you to have the great Samuel Jackson make you coffee, tell the weather, crack jokes, and play music? 99 cents.
“Hey, Samuel? Sign me up.”