Amazon’s Alexa AI assistant could soon get a bit more colorful in its speech, from whispering to uttering bleeped-out exclamations.
The technology comes by way of new Speech Synthesis Markup Language, or SSML. It’s code allowing developers to control how an AI voice speaks, in terms of intonation, timing, and so on. Amazon has now introduced five new SSML tags for developers to implement in their Alexa functions, including a “whispered” tag to make Alexa speak more softly and an “expletive” tag to put a beep over certain words.
The new functionality arrives via the Alexa Skills Kit program, launched in 2015 to allow third party developers build specialized Alexa functionality into their own apps and products. The ASK program has helped to popularize Amazon’s voice-based AI assistant at a time when such technology has started to emerge as a major user interface for a range of devices, and it clearly remains an active focus of Amazon’s; but the new SSML tags arrive in the wake of Amazon’s announcement that it’s also opening up its core voice interaction technology for developers to use outside of the Alexa framework — for a price, of course. That will not only lead to some revenues but also help to further enhance the technology as Amazon continues to train it on data from real world use.
Meanwhile, users will get to enjoy an increasingly intelligent and emotive Alexa.
Source: Alexa Blogs