Meta, a leading name in the tech industry, has made a significant leap in artificial intelligence (AI) by developing Voicebox, an advanced tool capable of generating lifelike speech.
Despite the tool’s potential, the company has chosen not to release it immediately due to concerns about potential misuse.
Announced last Friday, Voicebox can create convincing voice dialogue, opening up a range of possibilities, from enhancing communication across languages to delivering lifelike character dialogue in video games.
Unique in its functionality, Voicebox can generate speech it wasn’t specifically trained for.
All it requires is some text input and a small audio clip, which it then uses to create a whole new speech in the voice of the source audio.
In a breakthrough from traditional AI speech tools, Voicebox learns directly from raw audio and its corresponding transcription, eliminating the need for task-specific training with carefully curated datasets.
Like other generative AI work, Voicebox is able to create high-quality outputs from scratch or modify samples, but instead of images/video, it produces high-quality audio.— Meta AI (@MetaAI) June 16, 2023
Unlike autoregressive models, it can modify any part of a given sample — not just the end of a clip.
Moreover, this impressive tool can produce audio in six languages – English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese – offering a realistic representation of natural human speech.
Potential Misuse and Meta’s Precautionary Approach
While Voicebox opens up exciting possibilities, Meta is fully aware of the potential misuse of such a tool.
The AI tool could be misused to create ‘deepfake’ dialogues, replicating the voices of public figures or celebrities in an unethical manner.
To counter this risk, Meta has developed AI classifiers, akin to spam filters, that can differentiate between human speech and speech generated by ‘Voicebox’.
The company is advocating for transparency in AI development, coupled with a firm commitment to responsible use. As part of this commitment, Meta has no current plans to make ‘Voicebox’ publicly available, emphasizing the need to balance openness with responsibility.
Instead of launching a functional tool, Meta is offering audio samples and a research paper to help researchers understand its potential and work towards responsible use.
Global Concerns Over AI Misuse
The rapid advancements in AI are causing concern among global leaders, including the United Nations (UN).
Deepfakes have been utilized in scams and have propagated hate and misinformation online, as highlighted in a recent UN report.
Creating AI tools like ‘Voicebox’ offers numerous possibilities but underscores the importance of cautious development and responsible use to prevent misuse.
As we continue to stride forward in the field of AI, these concerns will remain paramount.