AI speaks letters, text-to-speech or TTS, text-to-voice, speech synthesis applications, generative Artificial Intelligence, futuristic technology in language and communication.

Voice synthesis has come a great distance since 1978’s Speak & Spell toy, which as soon as wowed individuals with its state-of-the-art skill to learn phrases aloud utilizing an digital voice. Now, utilizing deep-learning AI fashions, software program can create not solely realistic-sounding voices, but additionally convincingly imitate current voices utilizing small samples of audio.

Along these traces, OpenAI simply introduced Voice Engine, a text-to-speech AI mannequin for creating artificial voices based mostly on a 15-second phase of recorded audio. It has offered audio samples of the Voice Engine in motion on its web site.

Once a voice is cloned, a consumer can enter textual content into the Voice Engine and get an AI-generated voice end result. But OpenAI is just not able to extensively launch its expertise but. The firm initially deliberate to launch a pilot program for builders to join the Voice Engine API earlier this month. But after extra consideration about moral implications, the corporate determined to cut back its ambitions for now.

“In line with our strategy to AI security and our voluntary commitments, we’re selecting to preview however not extensively launch this expertise at the moment,” the corporate writes. “We hope this preview of Voice Engine each underscores its potential and in addition motivates the necessity to bolster societal resilience towards the challenges introduced by ever extra convincing generative fashions.”

Voice cloning tech on the whole is just not notably new—we have lined a number of AI voice synthesis fashions since 2022, and the tech is energetic within the open supply group with packages like OpenVoice and XTTSv2. But the concept that OpenAI is inching towards letting anybody use their explicit model of voice tech is notable. And in some methods, the corporate’s reticence to launch it totally is perhaps the larger story.

OpenAI says that advantages of its voice expertise embody offering studying help by way of natural-sounding voices, enabling international attain for creators by translating content material whereas preserving native accents, supporting non-verbal people with customized speech choices, and aiding sufferers in recovering their very own voice after speech-impairing circumstances.

But it additionally implies that anybody with 15 seconds of somebody’s recorded voice might successfully clone it, and that has apparent implications for potential misuse. Even if OpenAI by no means extensively releases its Voice Engine, the flexibility to clone voices has already triggered bother in society by way of cellphone scams the place somebody imitates a liked one’s voice and election marketing campaign robocalls that includes cloned voices from politicians like Joe Biden.

Also, researchers and reporters have proven that voice-cloning expertise can be utilized to interrupt into financial institution accounts that use voice authentication (reminiscent of Chase’s Voice ID), which prompted Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chairman of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, to ship a letter to the CEOs of a number of main banks in May 2023 to inquire in regards to the safety measures banks are taking to counteract AI-powered dangers.

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