There has long been speculation about how AI can be a great disruptor when it comes to audiobook production using artificial human voice instead of using the services of real voice artists. All of those fears seem to be proving true after all, what with British actor and author Stephen Fry claiming how his voice has been cloned digitally without him having an inkling of what’s happening, the website Fortune reported.
Fry was speaking at the CogX Festival in London when he played an audio clip where a human voice purported to be of him can be heard narrating a historical documentary. No issues with that except that the voice isn’t that of Fry. Rather, Fry is claiming the voice has been taken from his narration of the Harry Potter series of audiobooks and has then been recreated using advanced AI techniques. Worse, all of this has been done without the explicit consent of Fry, let alone paying the requisite fees for the same.
“I said not one word of that—it was a machine. Yes, it shocked me,” said Fry. “They used my reading of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, and from that dataset an AI of my voice was created, and it made that new narration.”
Stephen Fry lent his voice to the British version of the Harry Potter series of audiobooks while the American version of the same has been narrated by Jim Dale.
Fry is claiming the use of voice clones could just be the beginning as there could be deepfake videos of known artists that could emerge in the not-too-distant future. Also, thanks to the use of advanced technology, such fake videos could prove to be just as convincing and could be hard to differentiate from the real stuff.
All of this has come at a time when Fry along with others who are members of the SAG-AFTRA actor’s union are observing a strike over several issues, AI being one such. The actors feel the unregulated and rampant use of AI without adequately compensating for the same can be the worst thing the entertainment industry has ever faced in recent times.
Maybe the need of the hour is to create a consensus among all regarding the use of AI so that the same is not seen to impinge on the livelihood of real artists while also ensuring creativity is never compromised.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. The motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot, and I'll likely make a film sometime in the future.