Now, Amazon's Alexa will talk with emotions. Scary times ahead!Last updated on Nov 28, 2019, 01:07 pm
A virtual assistant with emotions? Are we in Black Mirror-esque dystopian world?
Scary as it sounds, Amazon's Alexa is getting a major update, something that will let it express disappointment and excitement, based on the question you asked.
So, it not only knows the answer to all your questions, it can also gauge (and over time, learn), how exactly you want to hear it.
Alexa to show excitement/disappointment with varying levels of intensity
In a recent announcement, the Jeff Bezos-owned company said that developers can now add a sense of emotion into Alexa by giving it the ability to answer questions with a "happy/excited" or a "disappointed/empathetic" tone.
They claimed that the emotions can be expressed with varying levels of intensity, from high to low, depending on the question.
Time to say goodbye to all my real friends?
Emotions will be used in different situations
Amazon says the "excited" emotion will be used in scenarios indicating something positive like when you answer a trivia question correctly.
Meanwhile, the tone of disappointment would be used in exact opposite cases such as when you ask for a score and your favorite team has lost the match.
One wonders what will happen to all the data it will supposedly churn.
You can hear six different sounds now
To give users an experience of how Alexa's new excited/disappointed tones would sound like, Amazon shared six samples, with high, low, and medium intensity for each one.
The audio of disappointed, going by the samples, sounds somber and slightly morose. On the other hand, the tone of excited, particularly the high-intensity version, sounds way more realistic and natural.
It's only available for people in the US
As of now, the feature, powered by Amazon's Neural Text-to-Speech technology, is only available to the developers in the US. It should be rolled out to more skill-makers in the future.
Should we be scared?
Apparently, according to the feedback received until now, the users were 30% more satisfied after having interacted with the new emotion-rich Alexa.
But, this author feels otherwise. In the past, these
big techgreedy companies have shown us that they don't respect our privacy.
On a lighter note, there is one more person who will judge our dumb questions: Alexa.