iPhone, iPad, and Mac have recently previewed the new accessibility features. Part of the bunch is the Personal Voice feature which has created some waves. What does it do exactly? It allows you to create a synthetic or AI generated voice which sounds like your own natural voice.
You have to record your voice while reading out random textual prompts that appear on your screen. You have to record a total of 15 minutes of you speaking. After that the inbuilt machine learning engines will generate a voice that resembles your own voice. This feature integrates with the Live Speech feature which turns text into speech. That means, during an in person conversation you’d be able to type in your responses and your device will turn it into speech using your own voice. You will be able to use the Personal Voice feature during a phone call or a FaceTime meeting.
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This accessibility feature is going to be a great boon for people recently diagnosed with ALS, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) a disease that causes you to progressively lose your voice. Apple has designed this feature to enable people with disabilities to communicate with their loved ones with ease.
The question is, is it safe? A lot of followers voiced their concerns about the potential dangers of a sophisticated AI voice generator tool in the iOS devices. Nevertheless, Apple has confirmed that the Personal Voice feature uses in-device machine learning and therefore, doesn’t need to share the voice data of the owners even with Apple. In fact, the voice data is not lodged with the Apple ID of the users.
Despite such clarifications, concerns are still there. We need to wait till September to really understand how far this new tech can be misused. Can it lead to identity theft? We’ll have to wait and see.