A public radio station in Switzerland conducted an interesting experiment for a day – they used five AI-generated voices to present news and aired music that’s almost entirely composed by computers.
Listeners of the French-language station Couleur 3 (Color 3) were greeted on Thursday, April 27 with a message that comes up repeatedly: “Today’s programming is brought to you by Artificial Intelligence.”
The experiment featured voices of five real human presenters which were cloned by Respeecher, a voice cloning software powered by AI and known for synthesizing a much younger Luke Skywalker’s voice for the Star Wars franchise The Mandalorian. As for generating the material that the AI voices were supposed to say, ChatGPT and other algorithms were used to accomplish that.
All over the world, the explosive rise of ChatGPT into our daily lives have caused quite a stir , and often there are mixed reactions – confusion, delight, fascination, laughter, worry or fear – about its long-term social, economic, cultural and even political consequences. Some musicians have even complained that AI has blatantly copied their styles.
In the face of such doubt and resistance, the Swiss station acknowledges the concerns surrounding AI, and seeks to de-mystify and embrace its existence that could prove beneficial to us.
Antoine Multone, the station’s chief, spoke with AP News via a phone call explaining the consequences of working and living with AI, saying: “I think if we become ostriches … we put our heads in the sand and say, ‘Mon Dieu, there’s a new technology! We’re all going to die!’ then yeah, we’re going to die because it (AI) is coming, whether we like it or not. We want to master the technology so we can then put limits on it.”
To capture the offbeat vibe of Couleur 3, Respeecher trained its AI for three months. The news material presented was not factual but instead generated to mimic scenarios that might happen in the far future, such as a temporary ban on spaceship flights over Geneva airspace, and the opening of Lake Zurich’s underwater restaurant.
To avoid any confusion from the listeners that might mistake it to be real, an AI-cloned reminder played out every 20 minutes.
Multone said on-air that a discussion of the experiment had been planned the next day, by real people, “The main feedback we get, in 90% of the messages, is: ‘It’s cool, but there’s a human element missing. You can sense these are robots, and there are fewer surprises, less personality. Many messages just said: ‘Give us back our humans!’ I think that’s great.”