At its annual hardware event on Wednesday, Amazon debuted several new Echo devices and announced a variety of new Alexa features, including a more human-like voice and the capacity to mimic celebrities. The first celebrity to get the Alexa treatment is Samuel L. Jackson. The AI feature, which is set to debut later this year, allows users to pay 99 cents to choose a celebrity voice to tell them the weather, set alarms, and play music.
The neutral text-to-speech software enabling these developments is based on artificial intelligence and thus will not rely on pre-recorded phrases like other similar products. This software will also allow users to enable a multilingual mode, so they can make requests in multiple languages, and a “frustration detection” feature designed to help Alexa understand and apologize when she has incorrectly completed a request.
The tech giant unveiled new hardware, including an updated Echo Dot with an LED alarm clock, a new Echo studio with high-quality speakers, and the Echo Show 8.