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Screenshot from the movie Sneakers

It’s happening. Recently, a CEO was defrauded of a quarter million dollars when someone built speech synthesis with his voice. With the idea that with only a small sample is required to make a fake voice synthesis of any word that, through a crackling phone connection, sounds real should alarm us.

We have a bias to believing what we hear and see. People will be exploiting this more and more.

Two decades ago, a friend’s ex left a ranting voice mail, which he shared. With some very crude sound editing software, I made a new version of the message and left it on his voice mail as a practical joke. It was very successful (I also created a version with These Boots Are Made For Walking in the background).

Now, it’s possible to synthesize nearly from scratch… a few minutes of audio and you have a realistic voice. What took four weeks of a voice actor locked in a room and $300,000+ (one quote from 2012) now is nearly cost free and there are millions of people with lots of audio online.

We will need a way to verify audio (and video) very soon.

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