Amazon, the Bible, and Artificial Intelligence: “Alexa, Speak in My Dead Grandmother’s Voice.”

By Kris W. Sky | Posted August 08, 2022

The future, according to Amazon, is a future in which machines will be able to “think,” “speak,” and “just be a friend.” 

From June 21 to 24, 2022, Amazon held its re:MARS convention in Las Vegas. MARS stands “for machine learning, automation, robotics, and space.” Attendees paid $1,499 for a full-access pass to spend the better part of the week gorging on keynotes, breakouts, and workshops from Amazon’s best and brightest. 

And according to Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist of Amazon’s virtual personal assistant Alexa AI, the future includes “ambient intelligence,” which he defined as “artificial intelligence [AI] that is embedded everywhere in our environment.” The path to reach that goal, in Prasad’s view, is Alexa.

Prasad isn’t just any top dog; he’s the co-creator of Alexa. His 20-minute keynote culminated in an upcoming feature designed to “help Alexa become ubiquitous in shoppers’ lives.” It is voice mimicry.

Dead Alive

Triggered by the shocking tragedies experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, this new “system [will] let Alexa mimic any voice after hearing less than a minute of audio.” With the headline “Human-like empathy” towering on the screen behind him, Prasad prefaced the demo at the convention with this explanation: “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

He then played a short clip of a boy requesting, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading me The Wizard of Oz?” As grandma’s voice filled the air, the camera cut to the boy, flipping through the book with a bright smile on his face, just as though his grandma were really there in the room with him.

Prasad gave even further insight into this new capability: Empathy is a “key for building trust” between you, the consumer, and Alexa, the machine. But what happens when “the world’s most valuable brand” makes their products your best friends? Are we, in actuality, witnessing the overt exploitation of grief?

Couple that with another of Prasad’s announcements, in which he informed the audience, “We’re seeing a massive growth in proactive actions, by which we mean actions that Alexa initiates on customers’ behalf. … Today, more than 30 percent of actions and smart home interactions are all initiated by Alexa.” Alexa achieves this by learning who you are, your desires, your habits, your “routines,” as Prasad calls them. 

But what if your desires aren’t good for you? What if you’re trying to break those habits? Alexa is great at giving you what you want, but what about what you need?

And so, we return to the old question: At what point does the tool you are using start using you? Ultimately, what amount of influence will this virtual relationship have on your real-life decisions?

Spiritualism 2.0

Before Alexa gets into every nook and cranny, Prasad and team are going to have to get past the guardians of the social media galaxy, who instantly labeled Alexa’s use of dead voices as “creepy” and “morbid.”

Others cautioned against the ethical disregard, associating the feature with “deepfakes—video or audio that is rendered with AI to make it appear as if someone did or said something that never happened.” And not all companies are taking the plunge headfirst like Amazon. Microsoft even backpedaled, curbing its own AI system to avoid its being “weaponized … as an act of deception.”

Should we follow suit and view this new technology as a threat? What about from a spiritual angle? Are the artificial intelligence gurus the sorcerers of today, conjuring to life things that are not really alive or else not alive anymore?

God forbids His people to have any contact whatsoever with those who bring back “the dead”: “There shall not be found among you … one who calls up the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10, 11); “give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them” (Leviticus 19:31). In the original Hebrew, the word “medium” is defined as “necromancer,” a sorcerer who revives “the dead.” Said the Lord, “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).

Contrary to popular belief, the Bible explains that when a person dies, there is no part of him that remains alive. “The dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). “So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep” (Job 14:12). “When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish” (Psalm 146:4 ESV).

It is sorcery that tells you otherwise. In fact, today there is an occult movement under the heading of spiritualism that believes in and encourages communication with the so-called “dead.” Is Amazon’s voices of the dead actually preparing the world for something much more deceptive and deadly? Uncover that deception in our eye-opening presentation “Bewitching Spirits.”

There is only One who can actually bring the dead back to life: the One who gave all creatures life in the first place—God. “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:5), said the Lord. See how this miracle takes place in our simple video “5 Steps to Eternity.” Watch it, and then share the good news with others!

After all, who needs artificial intelligence when the gift of eternal life has been freely offered to you?

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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