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Amazon Alexa update will distinguish between voices

by Brandon Russell | February 27, 2017February 27, 2017 4:30 pm PDT

In an upcoming update, Amazon’s Alexa will be able to distinguish between different voices, according to a Time report.

The feature will apparently provide users in a given household with a “Voice ID,” and give Alexa the ability to tell who is talking to it. The feature is apparently designed to avoid inadvertent credit card purchases.

Although Alexa supports multiple user profiles and PIN verification, ordering products can be a fairly seamless process, something that became an annoyance to Echo users earlier this year.

Time claims the feature has been in the oven since 2015 and is ready for launch, but privacy issues are holding back its release. The online giant recently ran into a privacy issue with police who were investigating a murder, so Amazon will need to overcome these situations before it’s comfortable launching the feature.

Distinguishing between voices isn’t new

The idea of AI being able to distinguish between voices sounds futuristic, but it isn’t actually new. Google’s famous Assistant can be “trained” to understand its owner, though Google Home, thus far, is unable to make such granular distinctions.

Introducing Voice ID to Alexa would be a natural progression of the assistant’s capabilities, which recently achieved 10,000 skills. If you have a household with multiple Amazon users, being able to distinguish between voices would be huge.

Time warns that although Amazon is ready to launch Voice ID, there’s a possibility it may never be made available. Hopefully, Amazon can overcome whatever privacy issues are holding it back and roll the feature out soon.

Time

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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