In this era of hyper-personalized technology, Apple’s making a leap from responding to your voice to mimicking it. Picture this: you’re lounging on your couch, half-watching “The Crown,” half-scrolling through your endless emails, and then you hear it, a FaceTime call ringing in.
A voice from your friend that sounds just like them greets you. It’s as if you’ve stepped into an episode of “Black Mirror” when you realize it’s a cloned voice you’re hearing.
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Welcome to iOS 17, where your iPhone and iPad will sound exactly like you when a new feature called Personal Voice is set up and enabled. Something straight out of a sci-fi novel, right? It only takes personal voice 15 minutes to clone your voice – quicker than it takes to whip up a good grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup.
Once your voice is securely stored on your device, it can be used with another new feature called Live Speech. In essence, you, a family member or friend could be on a phone or FaceTime call typing to say something using Live Speech which takes typed text and converts it in real-time to your own cloned voice. Instead of reading what you are typing, Live Speech would speak in your own synthetic voice to someone on the receiving end.
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Now, let’s put the “creepy cool” aspect aside for a moment. Apple’s intent behind this seemingly futuristic feature is to enhance accessibility to those who may be losing their voice. The idea is that we’ll connect and respond better to someone’s own voice or a familiar one. It’s like having a digital version of yourself when you hear it.
For some people, especially those with speech difficulties, or people diagnosed with ALS who may one day be challenged with losing their voice, being able to speak by typing and hearing their familiar voice could bring comfort and ease that a generic voice or deciphering text just couldn’t match.
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Let’s face it though, this could be a bit unnerving for the rest of us at first. Imagine hearing your voice, clear and crisp (and maybe slightly better enunciated than you remember), echoing from your phone. It might just feel like a clone of yourself has taken over, or worse, you’re starting to lose it. Instead, it’s a breakthrough voice cloning tool to help those who may no longer be able to easily to speak aloud their own words in the future.
Yet, like it or not, we are diving headfirst into this high-tech era where our devices aren’t just smart; they’re turning into our digital doppelgängers. They know our habits, our favorite songs, our preferred restaurants, and now, they’re starting to sound like us. It’s safe to say our smartphones may one day know us better than we know ourselves – for better or worse.
The future is knocking, folks, and it sounds suspiciously like us.
Are you ready to distinguish between a real versus cloned voice of someone you know? Will this uncanny familiarity bring comfort to others when you lose your regular voice or be seen as weirdness from those unfamiliar with this new breakthrough voice technology? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Siri being a part of Personal Voice and has been updated to address the inaccuracy.