An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: With only 30 minutes of audio, companies can now create a digital clone of your voice and make it say words you never said. Using machine learning, voice AI companies like VocaliD can create synthetic voices from a person's recorded speech -- adopting unique qualities like speaking rhythm, pronunciation of consonants and vowels, and intonation. For tech companies, the ability to generate any sentence with a realistic-sounding human voice is an exciting, cost-saving frontier. But for the voice actors whose recordings form the foundation of text-to-speech (TTS) voices, this technology threatens to disrupt their livelihoods, raising questions about fair compensation and human agency in the age of AI. At the center of this reckoning is voice actress Bev Standing, who is suing TikTok after alleging the company used her voice for its text-to-speech feature without compensation or consent.
Instagram was clearly trying to court TikTok users when it launched its short-form video format called Reels. Now, it has introduced two features already widely popular on TikTok, perhaps in hopes that they can convert those who've been hesitating to use Reels due to their absence. One of those tools is text-to-speech, which provides a robotic voiceover for videos. When a user types in text for their videos, they'll now be able to get an auto-generated voice to read it out loud by accessing the feature living inside the Text bubble on the lower left corner of the screen. They then have to choose between the two available voice options before posting their video. While text-to-speech will make Reels more accessible, it's also popular on TikTok just because some find a robotic voice narrating their activities a funny addition to their content.
Reels is finally introducing an inventive, exciting new tool, unlike anything we've seen before! On Friday, Instagram announced that Reels is launching two new audio tools: Voice Effects and Text to Speech. Text to Speech allows an auto-generated voice to read users' text aloud. Think of it as Siri narrating your video for you, or 60 percent of the videos on your TikTok For You Page. You can use it by sliding over to the Reels camera and recording your video.
A text-to-speech TikTok voice made by Disney that made users sound like Rocket Raccoon does not allow users to'say' words like "gay", "lesbian", or "queer". Numerous posts by users showed the feature failing to say the LGBTQ terms before it was quietly changed to allow the words. Words like "bisexual" and "transgender", were allowed by the feature. Originally, Rocket's voice would skip over the words when written normally but would be pronounced phonetically if a user wrote "qweer", for example. Attempts to make it read text that contained only the seemingly-prohibited words resulted in an error message saying that text-to-speech was not supported by the language chosen.
At the center of this reckoning is voice actress Bev Standing, who is suing TikTok after alleging the company used her voice for its text-to-speech feature without compensation or consent. This is not the first case like this; voice actress Susan Bennett discovered that audio she recorded for another company was repurposed to be the voice of Siri after Apple launched the feature in 2011. She was paid for the initial recording session but not for being Siri. Rallying behind Standing, voice actors donated to a GoFundMe that has raised nearly $7,000 towards her legal expenses and posted TikTok videos under the #StandingWithBev hashtag warning users about the feature.