Author Thinks He's Found the Voice of Alexa

Book identifies her as Nina Rolle of Colorado
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2021 10:45 AM CDT
Author Thinks He's Found the Voice of Alexa
Is that Nina Rolle speaking through the Amazon Echo?   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Alexa's real name is Nina. At least, that's the assertion put forth in a new book about Amazon by Brad Stone, reports the Guardian. Stone says the person who voices the company's virtual assistant is Colorado voice-over artist Nina Rolle. Neither Rolle nor Amazon is confirming or denying, however. You can judge for yourself at Rolle's website, which provides samples of her commercial work. This ad for a Colorado neighborhood provides another example, and it's enough to convince James Vincent of the Verge. "You can absolutely hear Alexa's reassuring tones in Rolle's voice," he writes. "Or, to be more precise, you can absolutely hear where Alexa's reassuring tones come from when listening to Rolle."

In an excerpt of Amazon Unbound at Wired, Stone writes that he uncovered the name of Rolle by talking to people in the voice-over industry. "Rolle said she wasn't allowed to talk to me when I reached her on the phone in February 2021," he adds. "When I asked Amazon to speak with her, they declined." The book says Bezos himself signed off on the choice after an exhaustive search across the country. Initially, Amazon planned to have different voices for a variety of tasks, but it ultimately settled on a single voice because of the engineering logistics involved, according to Stone. (Alexa can apparently help solve crimes, too.)

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