Amazon's Alexa is soon going to be much more foul-mouthed, as Samuel L. Jackson has just signed a deal with the company to provide the first celebrity voice option for the digital assistant. According to Amazon, the actor is just one of many stars who will be available as an Alexa voice assistant in the future, as more guest voices will be added to the platform in 2020. The Jackson voice pack for Alexa will be made available later this year for just 99 cents, and better yet, it comes with the capability of using swear words, meaning there's a good chance your Alexa will soon be calling you an MFer.
Installing the pack for use is very simple after purchase. Once installed, Amazon users can say, "Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson," and are then given the option as to whether they want the clean or explicit version of his voice (as if anyone other than parents of little ones are going to choose the former). After that, users will then be able to ask Jackson for help with a variety of tasks, with some example commands including, "Alexa, ask Sam to wake me up at 7 a.m.," and "Alexa, ask Sam Jackson to sing happy birthday." However, it was clarified by Amazon that Jackson and the other celebrity voice packs won't be able to help with shopping, lists, reminders, or skills.
As for how Jackson's voice is coming to Alexa, it's the result of a new Neural Text-to-Speech technology developed in house at Amazon, which was first announced at the Amazon Devices event this week in Seattle. The tech is designed to make Alexa sound even more human, utilizing more emotions and expressions. Additionally, it will be able to replicate actual speech inflections from real-life people, and Jackson's voice will be going through the process to make it available for Alexa. In other words, Jackson's voice is going to be synthesized and won't be using any pre-recorded phrases or words from the actor. When we consider this along with how impressive "deepfake" technology is also getting, it seems to be just a matter of time before full-blown cyborgs are walking among us.
Jackson has been an A-list actor for decades, first coming into prominence with major roles in the '90s movies Goodfellas, Jurassic Park, and Pulp Fiction. He has since appeared in dozens of other roles as well, which consists primarily of action movies like Django Unchained, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and The Negotiator. He also had a large part of the Star Wars prequel trilogy as Mace Windu and has since been enjoying a long run as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, he is perhaps best known as one of Hollywood's most foul-mouthed actors, as it's incredibly rare to watch a Jackson movie without seeing the actor swearing like a sailor.
The idea of having Jackson speak for Alexa is nothing short of genius. You're definitely going to want to use the explicit version for true authenticity, but even without the expletives, there's no mistaking that undeniable voice of Jackson's. Let the speculation begin as to which celebrities will be lending their voices to the device next. This news comes to us from Variety.