Amazon announced this week that it’s integrating new features into Alexa, which will allow developers of Skills to make it sound more expressive and human. Alexa now supports Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), which allows developers to control the tone, timing, and emotion of its voice. With this update, Alexa will whisper, emphasize, and even bleep inappropriate words if the developer chooses. As Amazon says, “These SSML features provide a more natural voice experience.” I’m struggling to find why Alexa whispering to me would be useful, especially if it takes more time to develop. Still, a more human sound could lead to…

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