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Amazon is teaching Alexa to speak like a newscaster

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces an redesigned echo dot at the Amazon Spheres
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces a redesigned echo dot. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The way newscasters speak is unmistakeable, with their exaggerated modulations and drawn-out pauses. And now, Amazon has taught Alexa, its voice assistant, to approximate the authoritative intonation.

Details: The company used machine learning to detect patterns in recordings of broadcasters’ speech and incorporated them into a new voice for Alexa, reports The Verge’s James Vincent. The company is hoping Alexa's new voice will make it more pleasant for consumers to listen to news read out loud by a computer.

All of Amazon's major 2018 acquisitions

Amazon logo on its Silicon Valley office
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon made waves Tuesday when it was reported that the e-commerce giant has entered a bid for Disney's 22 regional sports networks, collectively worth $20 billion.

The big picture: In terms of mergers and acquisitions, 2017 was Amazon's most active year on record, according to CB Insights, headlined by its $13.9 billion purchase of Whole Foods. But while national attention was largely fixated on the company's year-long search for a second headquarters, Amazon's M&A pace in 2018 remained strong.

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