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As your dead relative, I don’t want Amazon’s Alexa to mimic me
This ends badly in every horror movie.
Amazon’s Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members - even if they’re dead. The capability, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is in development.
Amazon’s Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members - even if they’re dead. The capability, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is in development. [ ELAINE THOMPSON | AP ]
Published Jun. 23|Updated Jun. 23

Dearest loved one,

It has come to my attention that Amazon announced it is working on new technology for voice assistant Alexa, otherwise known as, “I SAID ‘I LIKE SALT,’ NOT ALEXA.” The new feature would sample clips of a voice, learn that voice, and turn it into longer speeches, bedtime stories and cursed incantations.

Amazon’s Rohit Prasad said at a conference Wednesday that this disembodied voice of the dead would “make the memories last,” and I can only assume the audience members looked down at their phones and refused to make eye contact.

Listen. I have passed on, and that is sad. But I implore you. I do not want this.

For starters, this is the beginning of at least six to 10 horror movies, and you know it. This is demon-level behavior. This opens the portal in the basement. Yes, this brings me back into the house, but not the way you want me.

Oh, at first, you think it’s me, but then things start to get weird and the kitchen chairs fly across the room. I don’t sound exactly like myself, either, but you can’t quite identify it. Pretty soon, I am scream-whispering, “Touch the stove.Do not invite this darkness into your home! Stephen King once brought a cat back from the dead, and let’s just say it was a slippery slope.

Anyway, “Black Mirror” already did this episode. “Black Mirror” was supposed to amplify and reflect our increasingly unhinged behaviors, not inspire them. Right? I mean, I didn’t see every episode because it got kind of heavy, but I think I’m right.

People are already out here going all Deep Throat on Google, saying that the artificial intelligence thingamajigs have gone sentient, that the bots have feelings and a family. Do you think I want to be a part of that sordid history? No. I want my legacy to be nestled comfortably in only my best photos and reassuring clichés. Just tell them I lit up a room! How hard is it? Don’t tell the children that I am alive inside the speaker box and have returned from my final resting place to read them “Strega Nona” before lights out!

Peanut, I know you have good intentions, and you just want me near. I appreciate that. But just know that I am near to you always. And that 60-second clip you saved of me saying, “Please, turn the camera off, I just woke up and I’m not wearing pants” is not how I want to be immortalized. Nor is the .wav file of me saying, “You better not post this! Does my hair really do that? OK, that’s kind of cute actually. Go ahead.”

Just leave me out of your little dark arts computer pod with the grocery list and the poor curation of jazz and the joke of the day. The jokes are very bad. If you do not honor my request, I will haunt you and Jeff Bezos for the rest of my days. That happens to be eternity, so think hard.

Spend your days with Hayes

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Thanks,

Your loved one

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