Amazon's scary new feature offers a chilling vision of the future
Nothing creepy about this, nope.
Hey kids, it's time for another exciting edition of 'Life is a bit like Black Mirror sometimes' with the news that Amazon is working on a very morbid idea indeed.
The technology giant has been holding the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas this week – MARS standing for Machine / Automation / Robotics / Space – as they look to "build the future" of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
As such, there's plenty of scope for exciting and also somewhat terrifying innovation. Step forward – not literally, but they're probably working on that, too – a new feature that can synthesise short audio clips of a human being's voice, later reprogramming it as longer speech.
According to TechCrunch, an example presented at the event showcased the voice of a deceased loved one – a grandmother in this particular instance – reading a bedtime story to their grandson, all based on less than a minute of recording.
Not weird at all, no sir. Amazon Senior Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa Rohit Prasad explained the process:
"This required inventions where we had to learn to produce a high-quality voice with less than a minute of recording versus hours of recording in the studio.
"The way we made it happen is by framing the problem as a voice conversion task and not a speech generation path. We are unquestionably living in the golden era of AI, where our dreams and science fictions are becoming a reality."
A timeline for this possible reality has yet to be rolled out, however. Welcome to the future?