Jan 12, 2023

VALL-E’s quickie voice deepfakes should worry you, if you weren’t worried already

Posted by in categories: innovation, robotics/AI

The emergence in the last week of a particularly effective voice synthesis machine learning model called VALL-E has prompted a new wave of concern over the possibility of deepfake voices made quick and easy — quickfakes, if you will. But VALL-E is more iterative than breakthrough, and the capabilities aren’t so new as you might think. Whether that means you should be more or less worried is up to you.

Voice replication has been a subject of intense research for years, and the results have been good enough to power plenty of startups, like WellSaid, Papercup and Respeecher. The latter is even being used to create authorized voice reproductions of actors like James Earl Jones. Yes: from now on Darth Vader will be AI generated.

VALL-E, posted on GitHub by its creators at Microsoft last week, is a “neural codec language model” that uses a different approach to rendering voices than many before it. Its larger training corpus and some new methods allow it to create “high-quality personalized speech” using just three seconds of audio from a target speaker.

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