Samuel L. Jackson and more privacy controls are coming to Alexa

What you need to know

  • Alexa will get new celebrity voices starting with Samuel L. Jackson thanks to its new neural text-to-speech engine.
  • Multilingual support is coming for "United States - English and Spanish, in India - Indian English and Hindi, and in Canada - Canadian English and French."
  • You can now auto delete your voice recordings every three or 18 months.

Amazon showed off a myriad of new products at its event on September 25, but it announced more than just hardware. Along with all of the new ways to use Alexa, it also revealed some new upgrades to Alexa itself.

First, there's neural text-to-speech technology, which will make Alexa sound more emotive, expressive, and more human than ever. For example, it will now be able to sound more excited when your favorite team wins, or imitate newscasters when reading the news.

However, the best part is Alexa will now be able to imitate celebrity voices, and the very first one is Mr. Samuel L. mother effin Jackson himself. Once it launches later this year, you'll be able to ask Sam for the weather, to play your favorite music, have him tell jokes, and more.

Although the neural TTS technology will be able to model his voice instead of using scripted responses like in the past, it still has its limits. According to the Amazon page, Sam won't be able to handle shopping lists, lists, reminders, or skills.

This being Samuel L. Jackson, there will be an explicit version, but don't worry parents, there will also be a clean option as well. The celebrity voices will normally run you $4.99, but with an introductory rate, Mr. Jackson will only cost $0.99. So, if you want some Sam Jackson on your Alexa devices, better to grab it sooner rather than later.

Another benefit of the neural TTS technology is the new Multilingual Mode. With this enabled, you'll be able to use two different languages at once with Alexa. It will start with three pairs, including "United States - English and Spanish, in India - Indian English and Hindi, and in Canada - Canadian English and French."

Alexa and Assistant have gotten into some hot water recently over privacy concerns about the storing and listening of your audio data. While Alexa already offers commands such as, "Alexa, delete what I just said" and "Delete everything I said today," it is now taking things a step further.

Now, customers will be able to have recordings automatically deleted every three or 18 months. You can enable this in the Alexa app under Settings and Alexa Privacy. You'll also now be able to filter your voice history by devices from this menu, making it even easier to manage your voice recordings when viewing and deleting them.

Have you ever wondered why Alexa did something or what it must have heard? I know I do, and now you'll be able to ask it. Using the commands "Alexa, why did you do that?" and "Alexa, tell me what you heard" you'll now be able to decipher why it isn't doing what you asked or why it randomly started playing a song.

Jason England