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September 2019 Retro Gaming Article

September 25, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Amazon's Echo is getting a voice-over from Samuel L. Jackson. Get ready for the new Alexa

Heart of Neon documentary Samuel Jackson Amazon Echo voice
Using a technology to mimic rather than play voice clips will enable Alexa to sound like a wide variety of celebrity voices... each for 99¢
Entering the Star Wars universe as a Jedi Master was an amazing achievement for Samuel L. Jackson and made me thing there's really no limit to where he might appear. How about in your house? If you let Amazon's Echo in and ask Alexa everything from random trivia to weather reports, you may soon be able to hear a different voice!

Actor, Samuel L. Jackson has a deal to allow his voice to be the voice of your Echo device. Alexa is swell, although somewhat robotic. An interesting facet to Amazon's ability to offer celebrity voices is it won't be done by playing back pre-recorded clips or words. Amazon is using a new text-to-speech process that enables simulated voices to have much more inflection, making the voice more realistic. Part of this technology allows the mimicking of celebrity voices so they can reply just as Alexa does, but sounding like any number of celebrity voices.

The Sam Jackson voice pack is to be released later this year (featuring clean and explicit modes), at an intro price of 99¢, with other packs becoming available in 2020. This opens the possibilities of offering a lot of audible diversity to the Echo line. Jackson has a deal with Amazon for his voice, but I wonder what the process is to "create his voice" for the Echo. Do they need voice samples? Would it be possible to create a celebrity's voice without their participation in the process?

It sounds like an interesting process and adds a very appealing alternative to interacting with Alexa. I imagine down the road, we'll be able to have Sam Jackson deliver the weather report, Alyssa Milano reading your shopping list, and Cara Delevigne voicing delivery status. Gotta love technology.

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