Alexa Can Speak With Bollywood Star Amitabh Bachchan’s Voice
Amazon has debuted the voice of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as an alternative to Alexa. Bachchan is the first celebrity for Amazon’s voice assistant in India and the first to speak both Hindi and English. Amazon’s partnership with Bachchan, who has performed in movies for more than half a century, highlights the company’s focus on India anew. The feature also continues Amazon’s experiments with celebrity voices like Samuel L. Jackson as an enticement to use Alexa and buy Alexa-powered devices.
Bachchan’s role as a voice assistant relies on his making audio recordings of his voice that Amazon’s neural text-to-speech (NTTS) could then use to mimic the actor’s way of speaking. His content includes the synthetically created speech and unique quotes, jokes, and other statements that will be played directly, without needing a synthetic version. The resulting AI can handle some of Alexa’s tasks as well as respond to several new commands and provide commentary and anecdotes on some songs users might request. Amazon chose Bachchan to take up the virtual role due to his enormous popularity in the country.
“With the complexity that is inherent in India, we had to find someone whose persona cuts across all barriers,” Alexa leader for India Puneesh Kumar said in a statement. “A person who caused equal excitement among audiences, whether they are older or very young. Someone who is relevant across the country, whose voice was distinct and created a positive emotion. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was really the only choice.”
Bachchan’s Alexa voice can be spoken to on Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Amazon shopping app on Android devices. Unlike the Jackson voice, which is a flat $5, Bachchan’s voice is a subscription service priced at $2 for a year as an introductory price. celebrity voice is part of Amazon’s push for Alexa in India. The voice assistant added Hindi and the Hindi/English hybrid language Hinglish in 2019 and debuted its portable smart speaker, the Echo Input, exclusively in India even before expanding sales of the Echo Show 8 and the Alexa Auto device to the country. The competition is fierce, however. Voicebot reported last year that while Amazon accounts for the majority of the smart speaker market, Google Assistant has ten times the number of voice apps in Hindi.