Amazon Wants Alexa to be Able to Tell Voices Apart

By Tom Pritchard on at

While voice recognition has made serious leaps and bounds over the past few years, it's still got a long way to go before it's fully secure. After all, what good is having unlocked virtual assistant if just about anyone can use it? It's a serious problem companies are starting to have to face. But now Amazon is actively working to ensure that Alexa (and thus, the Echo) can tell people apart just by listening to them speak.

According to sources speaking to Time, Amazon has been working on something called 'Voice ID' since the summer of 2015. This would involve having Alexa compare the voice of the person giving commands with a pre-recorded voice sample. If it doesn't match up, Alexa isn't going to play ball. Unlike now, when just about anyone can shout commands at the glorified speaker with impunity. The primary account holder can then lock certain features behind a Voice ID lock if they wish, offering an extra level of security and ensure certain people don't order themselves multiple episodes of Peppa Pig.

While it's a bit confusing why the company couldn't have included this type of recognition from the very beginning (the tech mustn't have been ready, I'm assuming), it does mean Amazon is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to customer security. After all, what good is a virtual assistant that has complete control over your smart tech and shopping account if just about anyone can use it?

Plus considering the fact Alexa can be used to control smart home tech means there are genuine, legitimate physical security concerns.

Thankfully Time's sources claim the Voice ID feature is nearly ready, though it's unclear when it will actually be implemented into Echo devices around the world. [Time via Slashgear]