In a new documentary, road runner, About Anthony Bourdain’s life and tragic death, there are several lines of dialogue in Bourdain’s voice that he may not have spoken out loud.
Filmmaker Morgan Neville used AI technology to digitally recreate Anthony Bourdain’s voice and let software synthesize audio from three quotes from the late chef and TV host, Neville said. New Yorker.
When a deepfake voice is found New YorkerHelen Rosner of asked how he got the clip of Bourdain’s voice reading an email the filmmaker sent to a friend. Neville contacted the AI company and said that he had delivered a 12-hour Bourdain speech.
“…and my life is kind of shit now. You succeeded and I succeeded and I wonder. Are you happy?” Bourdain wrote in an email and an AI algorithm later described an approximation of his voice.
You can hear the dialogue right next to the 1:30 mark in the documentary trailer linked below. The algorithm’s Bourdain voice generation is especially audible when you say “And I did it.”
Neville told Rosner that he has three lines of dialogue he wants Bourdain’s voice to eloquently but he can’t link the old audio together or make it work in any other way.
There is no shortage of companies that can achieve this kind of AI voice cloning, and there is actually a burgeoning industry of companies that can specifically create voices for video game characters or clone their own voices.
But whether it’s ethical to clone the voices of the dead so that they say things that weren’t taped while they’re alive is another matter, and Neville doesn’t seem to care too much.
“You can have a documentary ethics panel on this later,” he said. New Yorker.