Imagine being able to record yourself saying a few sentences out loud and then allowing a computer to generate a complete voice for any word in the English language.
Well, Lyrebird is doing exactly that.
The company was started by Alexandre de Brebisson, Kundan Kumar, and Jose Sotelo. All of the founders were students at the MILA lab, the artificial intelligence institute in Quebec.
Lyrebird was founded to help people create their own vocal avatars for things like chatbot assistants, audiobooks, hotlines, video games, and text readers.
How does it work?
You create an account and after recording yourself for about a minute, Lyrebird generates your artificial voice. Within your dashboard, you can type anything in that you want your artificial voice to repeat back to you, and it will.
You can view samples of Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s voice here. Lyrebird suggests using a high-quality microphone, speaking normally and not too slow, record yourself for longer than one minute, and do all of that within a quiet room.
This technology only works for English as of now, but it seems like Lyrebird may be trying to expand into other languages.
Obviously, most people jump to the legal implications of this kind of technology. I did too. Can you imagine if someone with the wrong intentions was able to create an artificial voice of Donald Trump or Barack Obama that said anything that was typed into it?
Lyrebird realized that this would be an issue and addressed it here. Essentially, the company wants to raise public awareness about their software and let people know the technology exists. They also want users to know that their voices are theirs and the company doesn’t use it or release it to anyone but you.
In the long run, the hope is that society will adapt to this technology and use it for good. Whether it’s making audiobooks or creating artificial voices for those with ALS who won’t be able to speak in the future. Hopefully, the tech remains in the hands of good and we’re able to prepare ourselves with any negative outcomes.
What do you think about Lyrebird?