Fake news could be getting a shot in the arm thanks to Montreal based tech startup Lyrebird. Lyrebird are on the brink of releasing a service that will enable you to copy somebody else’s voice with only 1 minute’s worth of recorded audio. They’re currently offering some examples of what Lyrebird can do on their website and we’ve featured a couple for you below.
As Lyrebird Hilary pointed out they’re using deep learning and artificial neural networks and the result is quite staggering. The other important thing to note is that Lyrebird are going to release the technology to everybody meaning simulated voices could soon be everywhere. It might not just be prominent politicians or celebs who get their voices copied, it could happen to you or you could use the technology to copy the voice of somebody you know.
With that being the case certain ethical issues are raised by the proliferation of cheap and abundant voice simulations. As well as security issues that could arise through handing over security details to a bot that that is masquerading as somebody close to you there is also the issue of voice recordings being used as evidence. To this Lyrbird speak directly via the Ethics section of their website.
“Voice recordings are currently considered as strong pieces of evidence in our societies and in particular in jurisdictions of many countries. Our technology questions the validity of such evidence as it allows to easily manipulate audio recordings. This could potentially have dangerous consequences such as misleading diplomats, fraud and more generally any other problem caused by stealing the identity of someone else.
By releasing our technology publicly and making it available to anyone, we want to ensure that there will be no such risks. We hope that everyone will soon be aware that such technology exists and that copying the voice of someone else is possible. More generally, we want to raise attention about the lack of evidence that audio recordings may represent in the near future.”
In the online arena it looks as though the relatinship we have with our owbn voices and the voices of the people around us look set to change. We could soon be able to use anybody’s voice to talk for us when communicating online. When added to the security implications and the possibility the technology could be used for fraud the release of Lyrebird’s voice simulation capabilities could see seismic changes occur in the way we consume media on the internet.