Is Amazon Changing The Voice Of Alexa?
On a day where Apple tried ruling the world of tech news with announcements about a series of new services, Amazon appears to have maybe sneakily done something of its own. At least to my device.
I have an Amazon Alexa Dot in my office, as well as some Alexa-powered speakers (not made by Amazon) at home. When I went to leave work for the day, I was greeted with a new voice that was very much not the Alexa I've become accustomed to. It was the normal voice this morning, but definitely different this afternoon. You can hear the new voice in the video above. We even asked Alexa if she changed her voice, and she coyly responded that she was just "getting smarter". You can hear the exchange in the video above.
After I got home, I tried my Alexa-powered speakers to see if they sounded different too. They sound like the old, familiar Alexa. This doesn't surprise me too much, though, being they are third-party speakers that Amazon doesn't directly make. Usually software on third-party tech doesn't get upgraded quite as quickly as devices made by the same company as the software maker.
I dug around online, and couldn't find anything at all about a chance to Alexa's voice. The deeper, and more neutral-sounding voice is jarring for someone not expecting the voice of their assistant to change unannounced. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, just unexpected and different than I'm used to. This could be a sign of a future genderless Alexa, or some other changes on the horizon. Following news of the development of a genderless AI voice earlier this month by a team in Europe, maybe Amazon is thinking about going that direction too?
Or maybe my Alexa is sick, or got hacked (highly unlikely, but anything electronic can potentially be hacked). The most rational conclusion I can draw is that perhaps my device at work got selected for some sort of beta test or as an early roll-out of the new voice, but I really don't know for sure. Does your Amazon-made Alexa device sound different too, or is it just mine?