[Ads-l] AI is being used to synthesize counterfeit voices

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 16 13:19:13 EDT 2021

In recent years it has become possible to create deepfakes of
pictures, audio, and video. Of course, doctored photos and forgeries
of various types have existed for many years.

The excerpt below discusses a documentary that contains an AI
synthesized voice of a celebrity chef. The use of this type of fake
audio complicates historical research. Authenticating quotations
becomes more difficult.

Date July 7, 2021
Website: Input (BDG Bustle Digital Group)
Article Title : An 'A.I. model' of Anthony Bourdain's voice says lines
he never uttered in new documentary
Subtitle: “We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later,”
said director Morgan Neville.
Author: Craig Wilson


[Begin excerpt]
A new documentary film has harnessed artificial intelligence to
artificially voice quotes from its subject, the late Anthony Bourdain.
Details of the dubious decision are outlined in a piece in The New
Yorker, and raise a heap of uncomfortable questions about whether or
not it's ethical to put words in the mouths of the deceased, whether
or not they penned them during their life.

HE NEVER SAID THEM — The lines appear in filmmaker Morgan Neville’s
new documentary, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, when an
email from Bourdain is initially read by the recipient, but the audio
then transitions into Bourdain’s own voice. Helen Rosner, who penned
the story for The New Yorker, asked Neville how he was able to get the
audio. Neville then explained how it was created.

[Embedded excerpt from The New Yorker]
Throughout the film, Neville and his team used stitched-together clips
of Bourdain’s narration pulled from TV, radio, podcasts, and
audiobooks. “But there were three quotes there I wanted his voice for
that there were no recordings of,” Neville explained. So he got in
touch with a software company, gave it about a dozen hours of
recordings, and, he said, “I created an A.I. model of his voice.” In a
world of computer simulations and deepfakes, a dead man’s voice
speaking his own words of despair is hardly the most dystopian
application of the technology. But the seamlessness of the effect is
eerie. “If you watch the film, other than that line you mentioned, you
probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the
A.I., and you’re not going to know,” Neville said. “We can have a
documentary-ethics panel about it later.”
[End embedded excerpt from The New Yorker]
[End excerpt]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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