"Starting today, you can enable Alexa to respond with either a "happy/excited" or a "disappointed/empathetic" tone in the US".
In the same blog post, Amazon also said Alexa has been given 2 additional speaking styles: "News" and "Music". The feature which will be rolled out this week will enable Alexa to remind users when to take their medicines. At launch, these capabilities are only available to customers of Giant Eagle Pharmacy, a regional retailer in the Midwest and East Coast.
Meanwhile, for Indian users, Amazon developers added Hindi or Hinglish voice to Alexa, in varied contexts, accents, and dialects.
Amazon has announced the support for various levels of excitement or disappointment within Alexa's speech patterns, which will start popping up shortly. Obviously, Alexa will be able to automatically modulate which type of voice style to use based on the questions that are asked.
Amazon are initially offering six different "emotions", with low, medium and high intensity versions of "Excited" and "Disappointed".
In another example, Alexa reads out a short news story in a purely neutral tone without any inflections.
Of course, we're now teaching Alexa, an AI we order around, how to feel - or at least how to produce a facsimile of relevant emotion in specific contexts.
The "Speaking Styles", on their side, are not meant to convey an emotion, but to bring more naturalness. The standard US "Music" style, in contrast, is slower, breathier and more laid back.
The default Alexa voice generated by Amazon's text-to-speech software has been a sore spot for some software developers who build skills, as Amazon calls Alexa applications, but had hoped for it to be more engaging and customizable.
There is, of course, one major concern with this new feature: privacy. You've likely heard that account of an Amazon Echos recording whole discussions between two clueless individuals, and Alexa sent that recording to an associate without the clients' assent.