Generative algorithms are creating synthetic voices that sound just like the original, and those voices can be modulated to the exact pitch and tone desired.
Montreal-based A.I. startup Lyrebird built a voice imitation algorithm capable of generating fake speech that sounds indistinguishable from the real thing. It uses a database of voice samples that are either available in public repositories (YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud) or samples uploaded by the user. The A.I. learns over time to recognize not only intonation, but also emotional cadences.
This technology can be fun to play with. You can fake a conversation between yourself and your favorite celebrity, provided there are enough publicly-available audio files of that celebrity to build a dataset. Soon, the technology will be able to match and rapidly deploy synthetic voices personalized for each individual consumer.
Y Combinator-backed Voicery creates bespoke voices for brands. If you loved Daria as a kid, you might hear Daria Morgendorffer’s voice (or Jane Lane’s) during a car commercial, while your spouse might instead hear Phil and Lil’s mom from Rugrats.
We should remember that in this era of misinformation, synthetic voices might also be used to trick unwitting consumers.
This trend is part of our section on Synthetic Media and Content. Other trends in this section include:
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