Roger Fingas / Android Authority
🌞 Hello! Alright, my penultimate day here on the newsletter! No tears!
👉 A new thing I’ll be doing is working with TechAltar on their YouTube tech videos, mostly focused on The Friday Checkout Channel. Exciting!
Amazon’s re:Mars conference (Mars stands for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, Space) has been talking for a few days about innovation and robots etc.
The latest headline came from Senior Vice President of Alexa, Rohit Prasad, who showcased a new voice assistant capability: the ability to mimic voices. Specifically, dead voices.
- Prasad, during a presentation at the conference, points out that empathy is a big part of Alexa, saying, “So many of us have lost someone we love. While AI can’t take away that pain of loss,” he said, “it certainly can make the memories last.”
- A video then plays showing Alexa reading to a youngster, apparently in her grandmother’s voice, saying “Can grandma finish reading The Wizard of Oz to me?” After saying “OK”, Alexa continues to speak in the child’s grandmother’s voice.
- The sequence is taking place at this stage of the conference.
- So maybe Amazon just came up with an idea, right? There is no timetable provided.
- But an Amazon spokesperson said Engadget that the new skill “can create a synthetic voiceprint after being trained on as little as one minute of audio”.
- Engadget also helpfully points out that fake deep audio tools are problematic for things like… scams!
- “Voice cloning software has enabled a number of crimes, such as a 2020 incident in the United Arab Emirates where fraudsters tricked a bank manager into transferring $35 million after impersonating a bank manager. But fake deep audio crimes are still relatively unusual, and the tools available to scammers are, for now, relatively primitive.
- And remember when that documentary about chef Anthony Bourdain’s life used AI to clone his voice, reading the emails he sent?
- Few people were fans of it.
- Listen, there are humane, interesting, and possibly enjoyable ways to do this to help people.
- I don’t think anyone really wants their dead relative to tell you what time it is or set alarms.
- But maybe for some people looking for comfort in certain situations, it might be nice.
- Of course, there’s also the scary stuff, and a lot of tech struggles with the same problem: cool ideas that also have big potential downsides.
- Another example is Microsoft stops selling technology who could accurately guess someone’s emotion based on a facial image.
- There are legitimate and interesting use cases that could generally help some people, as well as many problematic issues.
🔊 Amazon’s new feature Alexa mimics the voice of a deceased person with just one minute of audio. If you want it – Amazon says it’s to make the memories last (Android authorities).
📸 Samsung’s latest 200MP sensor is smaller than the Pixel 6’s 50MP camera: this will make the camera modules smaller, but likely performance sacrifices (Android authorities).
🍎 Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022) review: Apple put a 2022 processor in a 2016 computer, including the tired old webcam. The key point is that the review unit sent by Apple costs $1,899, “whereas a 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 model with these RAM and storage specs would cost $2,199”, and that 14-inch is the much better MacBook Pro. Plus, the new MacBook Air is coming soon! (Edges).
Oh hey, I think this might be the last Throwback Thursday!
- After about four years of flashbacks, we’ve reached a bit of a limit where things from the past, like Tetris, Pac-Man, Gameboys, the first iPods, iPhones, Galaxy phones, the first mouse, patents, etc., and various marvelous inventions that we now take for granted, have all been overhauled.
- So new ideas are needed.
With the Daily Authority In new hands, the special inclusion of Thursday’s newsletter could take on a new form.
I nominated “Thursday Thing” just to open up some freedom to all things cool:
Bravo, and see you tomorrow with a few final thoughts before leaving,
Tristan Rayner, editor.