Fake Joe Rogan interviews fake Steve Jobs in an AI podcast

Fake Joe Rogan interviews fake Steve Jobs in an AI podcast

Magnify / Which Steve Jobs is the right one?

Ars Technica

A Dubai-based voice synthesis company has published a fictional podcast conversation between Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs using realistic voices digitally cloned from both men. It takes place during the “first episode” of a supposed podcast series called “Podcast.ai”, created by Play.ht, which sells voice synthesis services.

In the interview, you’ll first hear a replication of Rogan’s voice created with voice cloning technology similar to what we discussed earlier on Ars. Deep learning technology has enabled AI models to replicate distinctive voices with a high degree of accuracy, as in the case of Darth Vader in the Disney film. Obi-Wan Kenobi television series.

To achieve the effect, someone must first train the AI ​​model on existing voice samples to be cloned. Rogan is a prime target for AI voice training using deep learning models because there is a large amount of his isolated voice in his podcasts. In fact, The Verge covered a PR stunt by an AI company called Dessa synthesizing Rogan in 2019.

Where this example of AI gibberish gets more interesting is that Play.ht has also added the voice of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. His voice, though robotically choppy at times, is reminiscent of his Apple keynotes and All Things Digital interviews from the late 2000s. And Play.ht claims the interview text was also generated by AI, possibly from a GPT-3-like Large Language Model (LLM) .

“Transcriptions are generated using tuned language models,” writes Play.ht on Podcast.ai. “For example, the Steve Jobs episode was trained on his biography, and we were able to find all his recordings online so that the AI ​​could accurately bring him back to life.”

True to its LLM roots, the 19-minute interview doesn’t make much sense. After a while, parts of the fictional interview start to sound like a conceptual mash-up of the usual Jobs points, including aesthetics, revolutionary products, competitors like Google, Microsoft and Adobe, and the triumphs of the original Macintosh.

For example, during a segment of the interview, the fake Jobs dives into a criticism of Microsoft that is very similar to what the real Jobs said in the famous 1995 interview. Triumph of the Nerds, but it’s not a copy – and you can tell the voice is synthesized when you compare them. “That’s the problem I’ve always had with Microsoft,” says the fake Jobs. “They’re smart people in many ways, and they’ve done good work, but they’ve never had taste. They’ve never had any aesthetic sense.”

Whether it’s legal to use Jobs’ or Rogan’s vocal likenesses in this way — especially to promote a commercial product — remains to be seen. And despite the PR-stunt of the podcast, the concept of completely fictional celebrity podcasts got our attention. As voice synthesis becomes ever more pervasive and potentially undetectable, we’re looking at a future where media artifacts from any era are likely to be completely fluid and malleable, moldable to fit any narrative. In this particular fictional world, Jobs is a big fan of Rogan.

“It’s nice to sit in the car and listen to you cry,” he says.

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