As science and technology are improving, the race to make various professions and jobs dependent on machines is increasing. Among these, the technology of voice mimicking has become popular and successful, attracting voice artists. But why this technological innovation, is it good news or bad news for actors or voice artists and what a big opportunity it is for cybercriminals. How is voice cloning done? Voice cloning is done by using an artificial intelligence software program on a computer to create an artificial voice by duplicating a person’s voice exactly. All it takes is a few minutes of recording someone’s voice. From this, the software learns the sound of his voice, his manner of speaking – how the person speaks. Not only the sound of your voice, but this technology has advanced so much in recent times that you will not feel that you are listening to a mechanical imitation of your voice. The way you speak, your accent, how fast or slow you speak, how high or low your voice is when you speak, how you breathe between words, and how light or deep your voice is, all this software mimics. . This software has more amazing capabilities. After knowing all the features of your voice, when you type a word or sentence on the computer keyboard, the computer will present it exactly in your voice – that is, it will sound like you are speaking directly. Not only that, this software can also express various emotions in your fake voice if needed – such as anger, fear, joy, love, boredom or annoyance. This business of creating fake voices is becoming quite booming now. One such organization is called VocalID – their company in the city of Boston, America. Why the invention of this technology? VocalID was founded by Rupal Patel. He is the chief executive of the company. He is a professor of communication science and related issues at Northeastern University. Rupal Patel started this business in 2014 to further his medical work. He founded his company based on this technology out of a desire to artificially reproduce the voice of patients who have lost the ability to speak due to illness or surgery. He says the technology works using artificial intelligence (AI) software. AI has the ability to “understand” what is needed, and by understanding that, the AI itself decides what is being asked of it. Professor Patel says the technology has improved a lot in the past few years and is able to mimic the human voice exactly. He says his clients now include voiceover artists, not just patients who have lost their voices. New world for voice artists Texas voiceover artist and actor mr. Heller voices cartoon characters, voices audio books and documentaries, is heard in video games, and also does voiceovers in various movie trailers.Mr. Heller recently went to Professor Patel’s company to duplicate his voice, and it’s so perfect that he’s quite impressed. He says this technology will help him get more work. “If I’m busy with one job, I don’t have to worry about missing out on another job offer. I’ll send them my ‘fake’ voice. They can use it to get the job done. It’ll save them time, and I’ll work less. And the most important thing is that the work will be in my hands,” says Mr. Heller. He says he hasn’t sold his fake voice to anyone yet. However, several companies have shown interest in buying it. How smart is artificial intelligence? Professor Patel says, artificial intelligence based software is very intelligent. “We can create voices with different accents. We’ve also created transgender voices – where it’s not clear whether the voice is male or female.” He says: “Each of us has a different tone of voice, we all have a different tone of voice, we all have a different tone of voice. This technology can master all kinds of tones.” Using voice cloning it is also possible to translate someone’s speech into different languages. Which is great news for the film industry as well. “Suppose American filmmakers don’t have to pay and hire actors in that language to ‘dub’ their films for foreign markets. This artificial intelligence software will do the job,” says Professor Patel. One such Canadian company, Ressemble AI, says it can convert English-cloned voices into 15 different languages right now. The company’s chief executive, Zohaib Ahmed, says his company can create a high-quality copy of someone’s voice if they record it for just ten minutes. “When the AI listens to your voice, it will be able to pick up many details of your voice – things like your laryngeal membrane, intensity of tone, depth of voice. There are thousands of things in the tone of a human voice, which you can’t even pick up with a normal human ear like me
Where is the danger of voice cloning?
While such high-tech voice cloning has commercial advantages, it also has serious risks.
Experts are concerned that this technology is a very fertile field for cybercrime. Because this will make it impossible to tell if the person talking to you is real or fake, and it will be very easy for criminals to trap you.
Similar to the fake videos created using digital technology, voice imitations like this are called “deepfakes”. Cyber security expert Eddie Bobritsky says the use of artificial voices poses a “massive security risk”.
“With email and text messages, we’ve known for years now that criminals send fake emails or texts by impersonating someone else’s email identity or using someone else’s phone number,” says the expert.
“But until now when we talked to someone on the phone, we could at least rest assured that the person we were talking to was a familiar voice—at least someone we could trust.”
Mr. Bobritsky says that, too, is changing. “Suppose the boss of an organization calls his employee and says I need some information. It’s sensitive, confidential information. But the employee thinks I know the boss’s voice. So, without hesitation, he obeys the boss’s instructions and gives that information. It’s gold for cybercriminals. opportunity.”
In fact, in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported on such an incident. The manager of a company in Britain sent two hundred and twenty thousand euros ($260,000) to Germany after receiving a voicemail from his boss, to whom he was a fraud. The fraudster used the cloned voice of a German company boss.
“Preparation is now necessary to deal with such new technologies and the security threats associated with them,” says Mr. Bobritsky.
What is the way to deal with criminals?
VentureBeat, a website specializing in artificial intelligence, says that technology companies in different countries around the world have started working to deal with such new crimes.
These companies are developing technology that can be used to check for fake audio. These counter-technologies are being developed to check whether a word is used more than once in an unusual manner, or whether there is even a slight dithering sound behind the voice, as well as the structure of certain words or sentences.
Governments and law enforcement agencies are also becoming aware of this new criminal world.
Last year, the European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol called on EU member states to “massively invest” in technology to catch ‘deepfake’ technology.
What is the risk of ‘cheating’?
But Mr. Those like Heller who think that once a voice clone can be made, all the work will be in his hands, how real, how illusory?
If a stockpile of duplicate voices is created, won’t he also be at risk of losing his job? Where artificial intelligence is so intelligent that it can replace a voice with software?
“I believe in not losing the value of the original human voice. My hope is that the people who give me work will physically call me to sing at various events,” says voice artist Tim Heller.
But Rebecca Damon, executive vice president of the Screen Actors Guild of America, the actors’ union in America, says there is another concern with the use of this technology. That is the potential tendency for voiceover artists to cheat.
“Voice cloning can certainly open the door to new possibilities for voice artists. But when their cloned voice is being used, whether it’s done with permission, they’re being paid a fair fee for what their voice is being used for.” Whether it is happening, the supervision of these is also very important,” he said.
Rebecca Damon believes that when someone is selling their fake voice, there needs to be a lot of thought about whether there is a proper contract for that sale.