Amazon’s bluetooth speaker, Echo, now gets its own voice assistant, Alexa.
With Alexa, Echo’s functionality has been enhanced. Echo can now be commanded to perform many functions, and Alexa would be there at the heart of it all.
Apart from performing some of the functions like what we are normally used to getting from some of our known voice assistants, like Siri or Cortana, there is an amazing function that this voice assistant can perform, that is reading out aloud.
She can be instructed to read your kindle’s books. You can simply instruct her to read a book and she can read it aloud. This is possible under the new feature called Kindle Books by Alexa.
If you are expecting the AI to sound as human as Jarvis from Iron Man, then you’re probably thinking way into the future. She will sound just as robotic as Siri, Cortana or even Moto voice do, and there is no changing that, at least not for now.
Regardless of the monotony in the voice, her text to speech changing capabilities are very useful for readers who have just gotten tired of reading and just want to listen to something for the time being. The technology can be specially helpful for those that are visually challenged, especially visually challenged students. It can help them ease their senses by taking a break from the braille system of reading. All that the person has to do is to say “Alexa, read my Kindle book”, and Alexa starts reading. She can remember where you left off and continue from there. By mentioning the name of the book, you actually make Alexa search your ebook library and read out the relevant book.
Alexa can pause reading. She can also move forward or backward and can skip paragraphs as per your choice, but only after she’s read the paragraph for at least 30 seconds. On the downside, Alexa cannot pick specific chapters in the book, at least not for now, as she has not been built for that.