Amazon continues to make Alexa more capable. The improvements go beyond adding new features, it also improves the overall performance of the assistant. One such improvement will drastically change how Alexa reads the news out loud. Amazon has said that the upcoming “newscaster style” speaking voice will allow Alexa to read the news like a professional newscaster would.
The newscaster style voice will be released for Alexa devices in a couple of weeks. While the voice is unmistakably that of Alexa and not of a human, it does highlight the stresses in sentences that you would expect to hear from a human newscaster.
Amazon’s surveys reveal that users prefer it to Alexa’s regular speaking style for news. The company says that this has been made possible by its “neural text-to-speech” technology or NTTS. It’s a big leap forward in speech synthesis which relies on machine learning to quickly generate more expressive voices.
The tech first breaks up the speech samples into distinct sounds that are called phonemes and then stitches them back together in order to form new words and sentences. Amazon created this speaking voice by recording audio clips form real news channels. It used machine learning to spot the patterns in how newscasters read the text.