Amazon has quietly began rolling out a brand new masculine-sounding voice option to its Alexa digital assistant together with a in a similar fashion masculine-sounding wake phrase to cause the assistant: “Ziggy.” (The unusual number of identify is possibly to suit into Amazon’s love of “A to Z”-style branding.)
The brand new voice choice was once in fact added a number of days in the past along a statement for brand spanking new famous person voices like Shaq and Melissa McCarthy, however it went in large part left out till it was once spotted by The Ambient. You’ll listen a pattern of the brand new voice choice here.
The “Ziggy” wake phrase joins the present “Alexa,” “Laptop,” “Echo,” and “Amazon” wake phrases that experience already been to be had to make use of with Alexa for years. Amazon isn’t in particular associating “Alexa” with the feminine-sounding voice and “Ziggy” with the brand new masculine-sounding choice; customers can use both of the voice choices with any of the wake phrases.
You’ll transfer between the 2 voice choices — which Amazon refers to as “Unique” and “New” — through asking Alexa to “Alternate your voice,” and you’ll in a similar fashion choose a brand new wake phrase through asking it to “Alternate your wake phrase.” The trade appears to be device-specific, regardless that, so that you’ll must set the brand new voice on each and every of your Alexa gadgets.
Amazon has been a holdout in the case of providing a masculine-sounding voice choice for its virtual assistant; Apple and Google be offering a couple of voice choices for Siri and Google Assistant, respectively. Neither of the ones corporations mates particular voices with gender anymore, both: Apple’s Siri choices are offered as “Voice 1” and “Voice 2,” whilst Google’s voice choices are indexed below a lot of colours.
Amazon has handiest presented its feminine-sounding choice because the Echo was once first presented again in 2013. And whilst The New York Times notes that Alexa will reply to questions on gender through replying “I’m no longer a lady or a person, I’m an AI,” Amazon itself nonetheless has a tendency to check with the Alexa character the use of gendered “she” and “her” pronouns in its documentation.
That’s regardless of that very same documentation emphasizing that Alexa isn’t “an individual with a bodily frame or a gender id” and that “Amazon doesn’t let organizations (as an example, abilities or AVS) check with Alexa as ‘she’ or ‘her.’”
The brand new masculine-sounding Alexa voice choice is reportedly handiest to be had in america for now, however it is going to possibly be making its strategy to different areas quickly.