OpenAI Clearly Nervous About Its New Voice Cloning Tool Being Used for Scams

OpenAI announced a new AI-based audio cloning tool called Voice Engine on Friday. While the company is obviously proud of the potential of this technology—touting how it could be used to provide reading assistance for kids and give a voice to those who’ve lost theirs—OpenAI is clearly very nervous about how this could be abused. And with good reason.

“OpenAI is committed to developing safe and broadly beneficial AI,” the company said in a statement on Friday, making its concerns clear in the very first sentence.

Voice Engine essentially uses the same tech that’s behind its text-to-speech API and ChatGPT Voice but this application of the tech is all about cloning a voice rather than reading something aloud with a stranger’s tone and inflection. OpenAI notes that its tech is exceptional in that it needs just a 15-second sample to “create emotive and realistic voices.”

“Today we are sharing preliminary insights and results from a small-scale preview of a model called Voice Engine, which uses text input and a single 15-second audio sample to generate natural-sounding speech that closely resembles the original speaker,” the company wrote.

It’s not clear what kind of training data was used to build Voice Engine, a sore spot for AI companies that have been accused of violating copyright laws by training their models on protected works. Companies like OpenAI argue their training methods count as “fair use” under U.S. copyright law, but a number of rights holders have sued, complaining they weren’t compensated for their work.

OpenAI’s website has example audio clips that have been fed through Voice Engine and they’re pretty damn impressive. The ability to change the language someone is speaking is also very cool. But you can’t try it out for yourself just yet.

There are already a number of voice cloning tools available like

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