You’ve all seen the Spike Jonze movie Her, right? Well, if not, Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a digital assistant voiced by Scarlett Johansson, perhaps offering future echos of sentient AI with feelings and emotions.
While Alexa may not have mastered the seductive tones of Sca-Jo, she can now whisper back to you and even express emotions within her responses.
The new Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) additions rolled out by Amazon this week will give developers power to control the control pronunciation, intonation, timing, and emotion expressed in Alexa’s speech.
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She can whisper to “convert a softer dialogue,” bleep out swear words and add emphasis by changing the rate and volume of speech.
There’s also a ‘Sub’ SSML tag that will enable Alexa to say something beyond what’s written. Devs will also be able to add pauses between long passages of speech.
Here’s an example from Amazon’s developer blog of how third-party devs will be able to add the new features within their app’s code:
The tags are now available for developers in the UK and Germany, so Alexa-device owners could start hearing those sweet nothings soon.
While I’m quite fond of how helpful Alexa has become in aiding my day to day life, I’ve stopped short or developing an emotional connection with her.
Provided she doesn’t start laughing at my crap dad jokes, I still don’t think my wife has anything to worry about even with the whispers and emotion-laden speech.
What’s your favourite Alexa feature? Share them in the comments below