Alexa Will Pretend it Understands When You Are Sad About a Major Sporting Event

By Gary Cutlack on at

The developers in charge of Amazon's Alexa speaker thing or whatever it is are about to unleash new speaking options, with which the virtual assistant will attempt to do a better job of reacting to requests and issuing news in the right tone of voice. Perhaps it will sound apologetic when it says it can't do something unless you pay Amazon more money.

The idea is that the upgraded Alexa of the near future will sound excited when it tells you that the weather's going to be nice, or do a sad voice when relaying the news that your package has gone back to the very same depot from whence it came this morning. Amazon says it's now using "neural text-to-speech" to do this by generating voice on the fly, rather than having a distressed voice actor stuck in a studio recording multiple intonations of every word in every language, in case they're ever needed.

Six different levels of "emotion" intensity are available for developers to integrate, although only for US-facing users at first. UK users prefer an emotionless deadpan delivery at all times anyway. Brain the size of a planet, and here I am reading out football scores for the wrong geographical region etc. [Amazon via Telegraph]