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Amazon Working to Enable Alexa to Mimic Any Voice, Confirms Senior Vice President

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By Reuters | Updated: 23 June 2022

Amazon wants to give customers the chance to make Alexa, the company’s voice assistant, sound just like their grandmother — or anyone else. The online retailer is developing a system to let Alexa mimic any voice after hearing less than a minute of audio, said Rohit Prasad, an Amazon Senior Vice President, at a conference the company held in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The goal is to “make the memories last” after “so many of us have lost someone we love” during the pandemic, Prasad said. Amazon declined to share when it would roll out such a feature.

The work wades into an area of technology that has garnered close scrutiny for potential benefits and abuses. For instance, Microsoft recently restricted which businesses could use its software to parrot voices. The goal is to help people with speech impairments or other problems but some worry it could also be used to propagate political deepfakes.

Amazon hopes the project will help Alexa become ubiquitous in shoppers’ lives. But public attention has already shifted elsewhere. At Alphabet’s Google, an engineer made the highly contested claim that a company chat bot had advanced to sentience. Another Amazon executive said on Tuesday that Alexa had 100 million customers globally, in line with figures the company has provided for device sales since January 2019.

Prasad said Amazon’s aim for Alexa is “generalisable intelligence,” or the ability to adapt to user environments and learn new concepts with little external input. He said that goal is “not to be confused with the all-knowing, all-capable, uber artificial general intelligence,” or AGI, which Alphabet’s DeepMind unit and Elon Musk-co-founded OpenAI are seeking.

Amazon shared its vision for companionship with Alexa at the conference. In a video segment, it portrayed a child who asked, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?”

A moment later, Alexa affirmed the command and changed her voice. She spoke soothingly, less robotically, ostensibly sounding like the individual’s grandmother in real life.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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LG Electronics to Enter Next-Gen Logistics Market, Set to Sign MoU Agreement With CJ Logistics

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By ANI | Updated: 16 June 2022

LG Electronics and CJ Logistics will enter the next-generation logistics robot market.

LG Electronics said it will sign an MOU agreement with CJ Logistics to jointly develop logistics robots at CJ’s TES Innovation Center in Dongtan, Gyeonggi-do on the 15th with Kim Kyung-hoon, head of TES Logistics Technology Institute, and Jang Ik-hwan, head of LG Electronics’ BS division, attending.

Under the agreement, the two companies will set optimised robot operation processes for each logistics hub, jointly develop order picking systems based on self-driving robots to find and classify products, and apply robot solutions to CJ Logistics warehouses.

Next month, LG Electronics will supply logistics robot solutions such as LG CLOi CarryBot, warehouse facility control solutions, and multiple robot control systems to CJ’s largest logistics centre Megahub Gonjiam.

It plans to expand the application in CJ’s other logistics centres.

The CLOi CarryBot is a logistics robot to loads a large number of products and transports them to their destination. It is a robot that evolved from an automated guided vehicle (AGV) to an autonomous mobile robot (AMR).

LG Electronics completed the verification of the CLOi CarryBot last month and conducted a test operation for proof of concept (POC) at the large logistics hub.

The global logistics and delivery robot market is currently growing fast. Japan’s Fuji Research Institute predicted that the related market size will reach KRW 11.5 trillion (roughly Rs. 693 crore) by 2025.

In addition to supplying logistics robots, LG Electronics will also focus on establishing logistics solutions for all logistics processes from order to last-mile delivery.

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