Let’s start with this premise: Just because we have the technology to do something doesn’t mean we should do it. For example, there’s a lot about artificial intelligence that’s very cool. But AI could also be the death of us.
An American company called Veritone has just introduced a new “service” they called MARVEL.ai. This tech–which they called “Voice-as-a-service” solution for celebrities, brands, and media companies–creates “hyper-realistic” recorded voice performances. All it needs is a sample of someone’s voice and they and they can make that synthetic say anything. It can read a script and narrate a program, newscast, or any other voiceover using that fake voice.
Wow. What could possibly go wrong? We already have issues.
(1) Bev Standing, a Canadian voiceover artist, is suing TikTok because someone used the platform’s text-to-speech feature to mimic her voice without her permission. How is this legal?
(2) Anyone remember “Denise” from 2011? She cost only $200 to fire up. That was only the tip of the iceberg. Today, radio groups are already replacing live announcers with AI. Gee, way to suck the humanity out of broadcasting.
(3) Think deep fakes are bad now? This will lead to a whole new era of disinformation, libel, and slander.
Vertione defends their leap into this technology, citing podcasting. From RAIN: “[MARVEL.ai offers] immediate translation into many different dialects and languages — podcasting, for example. With Crime Junkie for example, which our agency side Veritone One works with, it is no longer a random person’s voice if it gets translated into Spanish or French. It maintains brand equity.”
Yes, they have protocols and security measures in place to prevent abuse and deep fakes, but what about how legitimate businesses will use this technology to put people who use their voices to make a living?
I am not optimistic about how this will turn out.