My clone wants to say a few words

My feelings on AI voices and how I intend to use it

January 19, 2024

I had a crazy idea to clone my voice a few days ago using ElevenLabs and attach narrations to my content.

I wanted to give people the ability to connect with my words through their ears as well as their eyes without me having to record anything.

Sounded easy enough to try, so I made a couple voice clones, one of my speaking voice and one of my passionate spoken word poetry voice.

It was much better than I expected but very uncanny valley. I decided to differentiate the voice from my own by running my training samples through a vocoder before uploading it.

Shew, it turned out wicked, and I really felt I was onto something.

How incredibly poetic of me to put AI in its place? I told it, “You’ll never be me, but I’ll influence you. Nice try.”

After doing this, realizing my vision of attaching recordings of my clone narrating my articles felt easily within reach.

Then it all fell apart.

But before I explain the nail in my clone’s coffin, click play on this article and listen to my clone introduce himself.

"Hey, I am Shadow Smith's clone, a new and engaging way to experience his words. Shadow hand crafted my voice by blending his passionate vocal style with subtle robotic distortions. While I embody the essence of his storytelling, these deliberate artifacts in my voice ensure you always know it's not Shadow himself, but a distinct creation of technology. This innovative approach brings a touch of the future to how you connect with his work, marking a new era where his insights are delivered through a harmonious blend of his humanity and the artificially intelligent."

Sounds cool, right?

It was surreal hearing it for the first time. It was like I heard my own voice from within the singularity.

Can you imagine what it would be like to listen to him and all of his intentional imperfections?

Would you like it?

Unfortunately, no matter how you feel about voice clones, you’re gonna have to get used to listening to them. But not mine. I refuse to contribute to the noise.

Even though this voice sounds good and is in a league far better than any generated voices of our past, it struggles on common words, pronunciations, and inflections.

I don’t.

Even my mistakes are perfectly me, and this human touch is engaging. It is important. And I believe people will prefer it in this new world.

No matter how good voice cloning gets, it will never be me, so this is the last and only time I’ll let it try.

Bring on the mic.

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