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Amazon Alexa will soon use neural networks to sound happy or sad

Amazon Echo 3rd Gen
Amazon Echo 3rd Gen (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Alexa can now express emotions such as excitement and disappointment.
  • Amazon is using neural networks to make Alexa sound more human.
  • The feature will be used in Alexa games and sports reporting.

Amazon just announced a new feature that it hopes will make us all more willing to invite Alexa into our everyday lives, and that is the ability to express certain emotions depending on specific interactions. Amazon is utilizing a Neural text-to-speech (NTTS) system (opens in new tab) that it claims is able to make the smart voice assistant's responses sound more natural than a pre-recorded audio snippet.

There are six different emotions available to developers right now, including low, medium, and high variants of excited and disappointed responses. Amazon envisions these tones being used in Alexa games, as well as in response to requests for details about the news or scores from your favorite sports team.

Here's a short example of one of Alexa's new emotional responses (high level disappointed):

This feature is something that Alexa skills developers will have to adopt, which means that it could be a while before it is available for the skills you use and love. For now, the Alexa emotional responses will only be available to customers in the U.S., though we'd expect it to roll out to other countries over the next few months.

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.