KFC uses AI to recreate the voice of Colonel Sanders

From the Tech newsletter: The QSR added an Alexa update that allows customers to order their favourite meal.
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KFC has added new capabilities to its Amazon Alexa skill, upgrading its voice technology with a voice that has long been at the core of its brand.

Available through any Alexa-enabled device, the skill now features an accurate recreation of the voice of Colonel Sanders, created through Amazon Web Services’ Polly.

Beyond the novelty of hearing the voice of the QSR’s founder/mascot, KFC has also added more functionality to its Alexa skill, giving users the ability to re-order their most recent meal.

In 2017, KFC launched the “Chicken Talk” skill, which was more of a brand-building play than a sales or ecommerce service, engaging users with chicken-themed jokes and quizzes (which still remain part of the skill, but now using the Colonel’s voice). Jason Cassidy, marketing director for KFC Canada, described the skill update as a “distinctively KFC” way for Alexa users to order meals from the QSR by being fun and memorable. In the Canadian market alone, KFC has done tech-forward projects like selling chicken for bitcoinAR apps and turning its bucket into a camera to engage consumers.

KFC is the first global brand to work with Amazon to use Polly, an AI-powered text-to-speech service that uses deep learning to create more human-like speech and even recreate specific voices. In the fall, Amazon put the tech on display when it demoed an AI-generated version of Samuel L. Jackson’s voice that could be used with Alexa.