The Jackson “voice pack” will come to Alexa for an introductory offer of 99 cents later this year, and users can choose between clean and explicit versions, Variety reported.
Once users install the Jackson voice pack, they can command, “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson.” Possible commands include:
- “Alexa, ask Sam to wake me up at 7 a.m.”
- “Alexa, ask Samuel L. Jackson where he is from.”
- “Alexa, ask Sam Jackson to sing happy birthday.”
Celebrity voice packs, however, won’t be able to assist with shopping, reminders, skills or lists. Alexa has showcased celeb voices in the past, like a duet with Ed Sheeran or morning greetings from Chelsea Handler. They needed to have pre-recorded audio, however.
Jackson’s voice on Alexa is courtesy of new neural text-to-speech technology that was created by Amazon. It was created to make the standard female voice of Alexa have more of a human sound with expressive as well as emotive speech. It also enables Alexa to recreate speech inflections of real people. Jackson’s voice, then, will be synthesized as opposed to being delivered as phrases or words that have been previously recorded.
In separate news, Amazon will now allow users to respond to questions that Alexa can’t answer. The new system will let people gain “points” each time the assistant shares one of their answers. The eCommerce company reportedly said that it will use a combination of human editors and algorithms to help vet responses, as well as a system of user up and down votes to take away inappropriate responses.
The company first revealed its plans for Alexa Answers late in 2018, describing it as an invite-only program that asks users to submit answers to Alexa’s more difficult questions.