Sure, talking to a speaker definitely isn’t the same as talking to your friend, but if you have an Echo — or other device with Alexa integration — it may soon seem more like a human-to-human convo.
That’s because Amazon is providing the virtual assistant with a new set of speaking skills that allow her to have a more “natural” expression.
According to Amazon, this means giving Alexa the ability to pause for emphasis, whisper, change pitch and volume, and bleep out expletives (which humans don’t do when they speak, but it is kind of funny).
The new abilities were created through Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) that allows app developers to code Alexa reactions into applications. By adding the codes, Amazon says developers will be able to control how Alexa generates speech.
For example, including the Amazon effect “whispered” will result in Alexa using a softer voice, while “expletive” will make the assistant bleep out a word that may cause offense.
TechCrunch notes that while developers can now make Alexa sound more humanlike, Amazon has also put some controls in place. For example, you won’t be able to make Alexa project high-pitched screams or squeaks — yet.
So, no annoying your friends when they walk in the door.