Amazon wants its powerful assistant to start showing some humane feelings when answering certain questions. Going forward, you will begin to hear Alexa respond to questions with disappointed or happy voice. Amazon announced that developers can have Alexa answer questions from US users with a “happy/excited” or a “disappointed/emphatic” tone.
“We’re excited to introduce two new Alexa capabilities that will help create a more natural and intuitive voice experience for your customers. Starting today, you can enable Alexa to respond with either a happy/excited or a disappointed/empathetic tone in the US,” Amazon wrote in a blog post.
In a post on Tuesday, the ecommerce giant said the happy/excited tone could be used in answering a trivia question correctly. “Emotional responses are particularly relevant to skills in the gaming and sports categories. Additionally, you can have Alexa respond in a speaking style that is more suited for a specific type of content, starting with news and music.”
Earlier this year, Alexa welcomed a newscaster voice sometimes in January. What that means is that you can now change the assistant’s speaking style. Customers in the US will be able to ask Alexa “what’s the latest?” to hear the day’s news, while the assistant will respond by using a voice similar to that of a professional newscaster to deliver news.
The voice knows exact words to place emphasis on for more realistic delivery of the news. This became possible after Amazon took advantage of recent developments it made with Neural TTS technology. The technology delivers a more natural-sounding voice, which enables Alexa to adapt her speaking style based on the context of a user’s request.
Amazon explains that NTTS produced speech with better intonation, which emphasizes the right words in a sentence in the case of the newscaster voice. The company adds that its scientists used an approach called direct waveform modelling that applies deep learning to produce speech signal.
In 2018, Amazon added a new way to create Alexa skills—and no coding skills needed. You will be able to customize diverse questions along with personal answers as well as responses. It is all happening at Alexa Skill Blueprint where the ecommerce behemoth has made it easy for you to create either a skill or question/answer that will run on your Alexa device.
The skill could take any form including a custom joke response to an Alexa question like “who’s the best dad in the world,” and loads of others. Amazon is giving you a smooth start by providing a set of templates to let you create all the skills and custom question/responses. The templates are custom questions and answers, responses designed for house guests, jokes, short stories, and trivia games.