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Amazon's Alexa Can Now Respond With Emotions

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Amazon said its voice assistant Alexa can now express emotions of either a happy/excited or a disappointed/empathetic tone in the US.

In a blog post, the technology and e-commerce giant said it introduced two new Alexa capabilities and new speaking styles for a more natural and intuitive voice experience.

Alexa's emotional responses are particularly relevant to skills in the gaming and sports categories. Alexa emotions use Neural TTS or NTTS technology, Amazon's text-to-speech technology that enables more natural sounding speech. Customers can choose emotions with low', 'medium' or 'high' level of intensity.

Further, customers make Alexa respond in a speaking style that is more suited for a specific type of content. The initial focus is on news and music in the US. With the news speaking style, Alexa's voice would sound similar to TV news anchors and radio hosts. Alexa's new speaking styles also use NTTS technology.

Customers can use the newly published SSML tags to get started with Alexa emotions. They simply need to wrap Alexa's response with the appropriate SSML tag -'excited' or 'disappointed', and the level of intensity with which the emotion should be applied to the response.

Amazon's early customer feedback indicates that overall satisfaction with the voice experience were up 30 percent when Alexa responded with emotions. Further, while conducting 'blind listening' tests, the news style was perceived to be 31 percent more natural than Alexa's standard voice and the music style was perceived to be 84 percent more natural.

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