Amazon's Alexa Actually Lost Her Voice

03 March, 2018, 05:31 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • Cultural context is the hardest part of speaking a foreign language. Amazon's Alexa could change that

In a twist of irony, an Amazon ad that showed Alexa losing her voice became a reality as users of the personal assistant reported that the device was not working on Friday.

So for instance if someone from the US attends a wedding in Japan without knowing a word of Japanese, Alexa would help the person hold a conversation in the local language.

Amazon wants to turn Alexa into a real-time translator.


While Amazon doesn't have a status page for its consumer products, Down Detector is reporting a huge spike in Alexa-related complaints over the last hour. A list of services that are experiencing outages has not yet been confirmed, but Amazon's Alexa seems to be effected.

Amazon's Alexa team, meanwhile, knows the challenges of providing the kind of real-time language translation that is often seen in science fiction movies. To a small degree, Alexa already does this-it's capable of translating basic words and phrases into Spanish, German, French, and Italian.

For years people have dreamed about creating the real-world Babel Fish, that lovely creature imagined by Douglas Adams as being able to automatically translate all languages in real time. However, Amazon is said to be pushing to make Alexa into a "true multilingual assistant" that will be able to perform more complicated translations. The smart voice-based assistant will reportedly integrate its knowledge of the Japanese culture to make the translations more accurate. In some cases, those connected devices may not work at all, if Alexa is having trouble connecting to the internet. The chip is expected to power Alexa's artificial intelligence features, and may be a component for whenever the real-time language translation service will be rolled out.

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