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Amazon is building upon the Alexa voice-recognition technology found in its Echo range of speakers so that the virtual assistant can distinguish between individual users based on the sound of their voices.

According to anonymous sources who spoke to TIME, Amazon's feature would work by matching the person speaking to a pre-recorded voice sample, or "voice print", to verify the speaker's identity.

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A primary account holder would be able to require a specific voice print to access certain commands. A user would, for example, be able to set it so that a parent's voice would be required to make a credit card purchase or turn on the coffee machine through the Echo.
Amazon has been developing the feature, internally called Voice ID, since at least the summer of 2015, according to people familiar with the company's Alexa strategy. The underlying technology is said to have been completed and just needs integrating into Echo speakers, however it's still unclear when that will happen.

The Voice ID technology would be a first in the smart speaker space and make Echo units easier to share between multiple people under one roof. Currently, Echo users can set up multiple profiles and jump between them, but the user must say "switch accounts" or use the Alexa app to do so. And as for credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must be said out loud to confirm them.

It's unknown at this point whether Voice ID will extend to the many Alexa-enabled third-party devices now available, or if it would be limited to Amazon's Echo speakers. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Alexa recently became capable of responding to 10,000 skills, according to Amazon. Skills are essentially third-party apps that you can interact with via voice, once they've been enabled. The 10,000th skill was Beat the Intro, a music game that tests users' knowledge and love of music.

AI assistants have become increasingly popular over the past few years, while Apple's Siri has remained largely unchanged over the past few iOS updates. Last May it was rumored that the company would launch an Echo-like speaker with Siri integration, enabling users to play music, get news headlines, and more, without needing to interact with their iPhone, but further details have been scant.

Article Link: Amazon Developing 'Voice ID' Technology for Alexa Assistant
 

sudo1996

Suspended
Aug 21, 2015
1,496
1,182
Berkeley, CA, USA
"To confirm credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must also be said out loud."
How again is this nicer than just going to a computer or pulling out my phone to buy stuff with stored credentials? I understand these devices as jukeboxes or intercoms (can it do that?), but I've always been puzzled that a main selling point shown in ads and such is that you can randomly buy stuff with your voice.
 
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Telos101

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2016
219
886
Ireland
"To confirm credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must also be said out loud."
How again is this nicer than just going to a computer or pulling out my phone to buy stuff with stored credentials? I understand these devices as jukeboxes, but I've always been puzzled that a main selling point shown in ads and such is that you can randomly buy stuff with your voice.

I see your point. Presumably that's why they're developing this Voice ID thing?
 
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and 1989 others

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2016
387
1,858
As technology companies go I quite admire Amazon, they seem to produce decent tech and at decent prices. They're apps just work, they're Kindle are good quality, and They're streaming service (MUSIC) apps you can actually navigate.

And another Tech company, Google, I'm finding their Calendar app very intuitive and easy to use.
 
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62tele

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2010
739
674
"Siri, How are you today"

"Looking... getting directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales."

I'm hoping Apple will make Siri a bit smarter with iOS 11.

I have very few issues with Siri and use it frequently.
[doublepost=1488280723][/doublepost]
As technology companies go I quite admire Amazon, they seem to produce decent tech and at decent prices. They're apps just work, they're Kindle are good quality, and They're streaming service (MUSIC) apps you can actually navigate.

And another Tech company, Google, I'm finding their Calendar app very intuitive and easy to use.

What, no mention of Microsoft? You could have hit the trifecta of Apple competitors.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
35,439
38,512
I have very few issues with Siri and use it frequently.

I would like to know which version of Siri you are using. Because I have issues with Siri with dictation/deciphering all the time. Even though, I do find it useful for certain tasks. Siri has really become cumbersome with the most basic words to decipher. It needs help and it's clearly a wide-open issue at this point. And I use Siri quite frequently.

Also, apple hired a team of engineers to revamp Siri. Those changes can't come soon enough.
 
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Mactendo

macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2012
1,967
2,044
"Siri, How are you today"

"Looking... getting directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales."

I'm hoping Apple will make Siri a bit smarter with iOS 11.
"Siri, How are you today"
"Here are the search results for 'Siri, How are you today'"
[doublepost=1488286535][/doublepost]
What, no mention of Microsoft? You could have hit the trifecta of Apple competitors.
Microsoft makes great innovative hardware.
 
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Speedy Dingo

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2010
215
441
Australia
I have very few issues with Siri and use it frequently.
Don't get me wrong, I use Siri regularly too, but mainly to make calls, send messages and to find out quick answers to simple queries. I find that if I ask something considered too in-depth, all I get is "here's what I found on the web".
 
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BeefCake 15

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2015
1,746
2,451
near Boston, MA
"Siri, How are you today"

"Looking... getting directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales."

I'm hoping Apple will make Siri a bit smarter with iOS 11.

Some people might think this is giberish meant as a joke but this is a real place. I remember when a weather man was prepping himself to say it on live TV and even sent a Tweet for people to tune in just to hear him attempt it lol https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llanfairpwllgwyngyll

Would love to hear Siri saying it :D
 
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thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
2,420
5,155
known but velocity indeterminate
This has to happen pretty soon. We've heard the stories about commercials setting off voice based assistants already, I'm just waiting for some radio DJ to prank people with OK Google or Hey Siri over the air. Just as people are able to differentiate between speakers AI needs to as well.
 
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npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
1,358
1,471
"To confirm credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must also be said out loud."
How again is this nicer than just going to a computer or pulling out my phone to buy stuff with stored credentials? I understand these devices as jukeboxes or intercoms (can it do that?), but I've always been puzzled that a main selling point shown in ads and such is that you can randomly buy stuff with your voice.
More for reorders in our house. You remember the dog is low on food, "Alexa reorder my dog food", without the need to go to computer, phone app, just say it when it comes to mind. Same for shopping list, head in refrigerator and you see milk almost gone, "Alexa add milk to shopping list". One more, hands stuck in mixing bowl, "Alexa how many teaspoons in a tablespoon". A very useful device, especially within hearing of the kitchen. Three of the many non-jukebox very useful things these devices accomplish.
 
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Madmic23

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2004
778
750
"Siri, How are you today"

"Looking... getting directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales."

I'm hoping Apple will make Siri a bit smarter with iOS 11.

I've asked Siri for the weather or movie times in my local Canadian town. She's come back with results for a town with the same name in Germany. :(

I'm also hoping she gets a bit better.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
2,298
3,694
I would like to know which version of Siri you are using. Because I have issues with Siri with dictation/deciphering all the time.

In my experience, Siri with an iPhone 7 sitting on a table across the room has better voice recognition than the full-sized Amazon Echo the same distance away. Siri's ASR works quite well, probably due to the microphone setup in the iPhones.

The problem with Echo is they shoveled so many things in, you have to remember what app name you want it to start. There's no unified understanding. Using Amazon's example directly, you say "Alexa, ask Capital One what's my account summary?" not "Alexa, how much money do I have in my bank account?". You have to remember all these dumb names like "garageio" and "vivint" and "Meat Butler".
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
"To confirm credit card purchases, a four-digit authentication code must also be said out loud."
How again is this nicer than just going to a computer or pulling out my phone to buy stuff with stored credentials? I understand these devices as jukeboxes or intercoms (can it do that?), but I've always been puzzled that a main selling point shown in ads and such is that you can randomly buy stuff with your voice.

Some of us actually don't walk around with a smartphone glued to our hands. And we're too lazy to pull out a tablet or laptop just to reorder something. And we don't have to, thanks to Alexa. Yep, true first world power! :D

-- True story going on right now:

My wife just came home from two months in the hospital. She cannot move very much and has to spend the next few weeks in bed. While she was gone, I bought and set up an Echo (plus some Dots), Samsung Smart Things, a Harmony hub, and a smart thermostat.

Now, mind you, she's not into tech at all. In fact, she still uses a flip phone. But she's loving the Echo setup, because she gets to do stuff like this while stuck in her bed:
  • "Alexa, turn on/off the lamp" (this is on a dresser not near the bed)
  • "Alexa, turn on/off the TV" (she never understood two remotes. now she doesn't have to)
  • "Alexa, increase house temperature by two degrees" (or "set temperature to xx")
  • "Alexa, play some Joan Baez" (we have Prime unlimited music)
  • "Alexa, reorder Dr Teal's bath" (piece of cake to reorder from Amazon)
This also saves me a lot of time, since she's not totally dependent on me any more. So it's a win-win for both of us.
 
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