FB pixel

Synthetic voice industry wants as much distance from deepfakes as possible

Synthetic voice industry wants as much distance from deepfakes as possible
 

The synthetic voice industry sees how nefarious deepfake creators have been able to define the market for realistic video animations of people — and everyone wants to avoid the same fate.

For many people familiar with deepfakes, the key market comprises real porn video digitally altered to show celebrities acting out lessons of the birds and the bees.

It might have meant the hypothetical face-scanning of deceased mafia-busting U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy into the movie The Godfather, but the legitimate industry was outflanked.

Today, when people could be debating synthetic performances, artistic merit, copyright or the uncanny valley, most must first contend with a lasting “ick” stain on an already fraught concept.

Can the synthetic voice community do better? Maybe.

So far there is one fairly well-known case of a cloned voice being used to defraud a company in the United States. (Plenty of more minor cases of voice-enabled fraud occur, but they are under the radar for legislators, regulators and the public.)

At least one synthetic voice vendor is pushing a typical technology wonder narrative, no doubt hoping others will join in the campaign before a hypothetical egregious misuse of AI voice capabilities can make this sector, too, seem disreputable.

That vendor, Veritone, has offered for media interviews Jon Gacek, its head of government, legal and compliance operations. More news on the company can be found here.

The message is clear. “Deepfake” need not be attached to synthetic voice. Do so in conversation and Gacek will politely but flatly explain how one has little to do with the other.

Fair point, but Veritone has its work cut out for it on this regard. The company is using U.S. legislation — the Deepfake Task Force Act — as a backdrop to give their point some context.

The legislation was introduced in July by retiring Republican U.S. Rob Portman with three Democratic co-sponsors. It has been given a one-in-five chance of becoming a law.

Gacek’s pitch is that the threat of deepfake crimes and misinformation should not overshadow the multiple less-sexy roles that synthetic voice can deliver for public and private organizations.

For businesses, the technology offers a way to craft marketing messages globally.

A template message can be automatically translated for an unlimited number of markets, with local nuances and idioms. That voice could be a clone of a worldwide celebrity or an utterly manufactured algorithm.

The technology has advanced to the point of adding breaths and pauses to speech, though systems only recently really began to really accelerate. Most synthetic speeches lose authenticity when they run long.

Podcasts, which can be marketing, but more often are entertainment, are a major target for the industry, he said.

Gacek pointed out that governments that today issue written warnings, statements and proclamations in locally dominant second languages could do the same in audio for every dialect spoken.

He is not naïve. He knows that synthetic voice fraud will increase regardless of how ethical and useful legitimate markets are.

The trick will be revving up the industry with trustworthy and competent algorithms that deliver on marketing promises and making sure there is maximum sunlight between legitimate deployments and criminal intents.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News

 

The UK’s election may spell out the future of its national ID cards

Identity cards are back among the UK’s top controversial topics – thanks to the upcoming elections and its focus on…

 

Challenges in face biometrics addressed with new tech and research amid high stakes

Big biometrics contracts and deals were the theme of several of the stories on that drew the most interest from…

 

Online age verification debates continue in Canada, EU, India

Introducing age verification to protect children online remains a hot topic across the globe: Canada is debating the Online Harms…

 

Login.gov adds selfie biometrics for May pilot

America’s single-sign on system for government benefits and services, Login.gov, is getting a face biometrics option for enhanced identity verification…

 

BIPA one step closer to seeing its first major change since 2008 inception

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate approved the first major change to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…

 

Identity verification industry mulls solutions to flood of synthetic IDs

The advent of AI-powered generators such as OnlyFake, which creates realistic-looking photos of fake IDs for only US$15, has stirred…

Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events