Pulp Dic­tion: Ac­tor Jack­son Alexa’s first celebrity voice

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Seat­tle: Ama­zon un­veiled a lineup of new Alexa-pow­ered prod­ucts on Wed­nes­day ex­tend­ing from homes and cars to wear­able de­vices, and a celebrity voice op­tion for the pop­u­lar dig­i­tal as­sis­tant.

Alexa has been tweaked us­ing ma­chine learn­ing to speak more like a per­son, and will of­fer celebrity voices — with the first be­ing star ac­tor Samuel L Jack­son.

For $4.99 (Rs 354), Alexa users can now ask Jack­son to sing them happy birth­day or tell them the weather. There will be a “clean” ver­sion for those who do not want to hear Jack­son curse. Ama­zon said other celebrity voices will be added next year. In a prod­uct launch in Seat­tle, Washington, Alexa was the star as Ama­zon sought to widen the reach of its dig­i­tal as­sis­tant pow­ered by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence amid a bat­tle with rivals from Google, Ap­ple, Mi­crosoft and oth­ers.

The celebrity voice op­tion fol­lows a sim­i­lar move by Google, which gave users the op­tion of hear­ing celebrity singer John Leg­end on Google As­sis­tant last year.

Along with beef­ing up the Echo and Ring lines, Ama­zon in­tro­duced ear­buds it touted as pro­vid­ing the first wear­able, hands­free Alexa ex­pe­ri­ence. The Rs 9230 wear­able de­vices will work with Google or Ap­ple smart as­sis­tant soft­ware al­ready on smart­phones.

Samuel L Jack­son

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