Amazon gives Samuel L. Jackson his own Alexa wake phrase
Amazon is expanding its Samuel L. Jackson voice skill for its Alexa digital assistant to include tens of thousands more phrases, including much more of the actor’s iconic expletive-filled delivery. The company is also giving Jackson his own dedicated wake phrase: “Hey, Samuel.” The news follows Amazon’s announcement on Monday that it plans to add its next celebrity voice, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, for the Indian market some time next year.
The Jackson partnership launched last December, allowing Alexa users to pay $0.99 to access the actor’s voice on Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices. Since then, Amazon says consumers complained that the integration was “overly burdensome,” because you effectively had to ask Alexa to ask for Jackson to reply to something.
In addition to that, the range of questions and exchanges you could have using the Jackson skill was limited, mostly because Amazon recorded only a small number of words using the actor’s real voice and relied on artificial intelligence to expand the library. When gathering feedback, Amazon says most owners of the skill — nearly 75 percent of which had expletives turned on — requested a more candid, off-the-cuff Jackson than was currently available via Alexa.
Now, in today’s update, Jackson’s Alexa integration will feature around 30,000 more phrases, including five times the swear words, reports Variety. And you can activate the voice by just saying “Hey Samuel,” a feature that proved to be a “incredibly hard engineering challenge” Amazon says it needed to upgrade the on-device wake word detector to enable.
Some examples include Jackson saying, “Look at that hot ball of gas and fire! No, don’t actually look,” when asking about the weather, and “Why do Jedis always burn their pancakes? They never turn to the dark side” if you ask for a joke.
Variety also reports that Jackson now offers a touching response when asked what he’s up to, in which he’ll respond he’s thinking about the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. There are also other topical responses regarding Jackson’s future work, like one mentioning his upcoming Quibi animated show with Ryan Reynolds called Futha Mucka.
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