Using Alexa is as simple as asking a question but not when it doesn’t understand your accent. But Amazon has you covered. Alexa, Amazon’s smart AI assistant, may now begin to sound like its Indian users.
This Alexa, according to Bloomberg news, uses Hinglish, a blend of Hindi and English, and speaks with an unmistakably Indian accent. She knows Independence Day is Aug. 15, not July 4, and wishes listeners “Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year!”
Along with referring to the living room as a ‘drawing room’ and pronouncing Indian names, Alexa can also help with making a grocery list, adding spices like jeera (cumin), haldi (turmeric) and atta (flour) to the list.
“We wanted our devices to talk, walk and feel Indian,” Parag Gupta, head of product management for Amazon Devices in India, told Bloomberg. “Alexa is not a visiting American, she has a very Indian personality.”
And Amazon isn’t alone in tweaking products to suit local tastes. According to the report, technology giants from Apple Inc. to Google are targeting India by training virtual assistants in the heterogeneity of its languages and subcultures.
Microsoft, reports the Economic Times, is using Bollywood films to get a hang of how Indians speak English and how they mix the languages in everyday conversations.
Microsoft’s desire to crack this unique syntax, the report added, is driven by its desire to build chat and speech bots that feel more human-like.