OpenAI Can Re-Create Human Voices—however Won’t Release the Tech Yet

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

Along these strains, OpenAI this week introduced Voice Engine, a text-to-speech AI mannequin for creating artificial voices primarily based on a 15-second phase of recorded audio. It has supplied 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 consequence. But OpenAI shouldn’t be able to extensively launch its know-how. The firm initially deliberate to launch a pilot program for builders to enroll in 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 method to AI security and our voluntary commitments, we’re selecting to preview however not extensively launch this know-how presently,” the corporate writes. “We hope this preview of Voice Engine each underscores its potential and likewise motivates the necessity to bolster societal resilience towards the challenges introduced by ever extra convincing generative fashions.”

Voice cloning tech typically shouldn’t be significantly new—there have been a number of AI voice synthesis fashions since 2022, and the tech is lively within the open supply group with packages like OpenVoice and XTTSv2. But the concept OpenAI is inching towards letting anybody use its explicit model of voice tech is notable. And in some methods, the corporate’s reticence to launch it absolutely is perhaps the larger story.

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

But it additionally signifies 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 power to clone voices has already brought on bother in society via telephone scams the place somebody imitates a beloved 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 know-how can be utilized to interrupt into financial institution accounts that use voice authentication (reminiscent of Chase’s Voice ID), which prompted US senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the chair 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 concerning the safety measures banks are taking to counteract AI-powered dangers.

OpenAI acknowledges that the tech would possibly trigger bother if broadly launched, so it is initially attempting to work round these points with a algorithm. It has been testing the know-how with a set of choose accomplice corporations since final yr. For instance, video synthesis firm HeyGen has been utilizing the mannequin to translate a speaker’s voice into different languages whereas retaining the identical vocal sound.

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