Science & Tech

Amazon prepare disturbing 'Black Mirror' Alexa update

Amazon prepare disturbing 'Black Mirror' Alexa update
Alexa can channel the voices of the dead, Amazon says

A new Amazon Alexa feature has been announced where the devices will be able to mimic anyone's voice - and many think it sounds like something straight out of a Black Mirrorepisode.

As part of a new update, Alexa will be able to copy a voice after hearing just one minute of an audio recording which means that the systems can also mimic the voice of dead people.

The online retailer gave a demonstration of this at its annual MARS conference which included a clip of a young boy asking Alexa to read a bedtime story in his dead grandmother's voice.

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"As you saw in this experience, instead of Alexa’s voice reading the book, it’s the kid’s grandma’s voice,” said Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s Alexa AI head scientist.

He explained how AI having human qualities is important "in these times of the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost someone we love.”

“While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last."

Though people online have been creeped out by the new feature and noted its chilling similarities to dystopian drama Black Mirror,Black Mirror,particularly the first episode of the show's second season called: "Be Right Back," which aired back in 2013.

The plot follows main character Martha (Hayley Atwell) who is grieving the loss of her boyfriend Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) who died in a car crash discovered and discovered an AI technology service that can imitate Ash whom she is able to communicate with

But the AI which uses Ash's past communications and social media profiles to recreate him can only reconstruct parts of his personality.

At the time of it being aired, TV critics described the Black Mirror episode as "a touching exploration of grief" and the tone as "creepy and moving in equal measure," which are similar sentiments being shared about the new voice update.

Meanwhile, Black Mirror fans were disappointed that the series wasn't trending because of any new details about season six which was announced last month.

The last series was released on Netflix three years ago in 2019 so viewers are keen for more episodes.

In the new season announcement by Variety, it was confirmed that there will be more episodes than season five which had just three and is said to be more of "cinematic in scope," though no release date has been confirmed.

By the looks of it, tech companies like Amazon will definitely be tuning in when the new episodes drop.

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