Earlier today, Samsung announced (opens in new tab) a new feature for its mobile assistant Bixby: it can now create AI-generated copies of users’ voices. You may be wondering, “What’s the use case for that?” As it turns out, you can use this vocal replica to take calls and messages on your behalf — a perfect tool if you don’t feel like talking to your kids, ex-wife, or bill collectors.
The official name of the feature is Bixby’s Custom Voice Creator. To get started, you must record several sentences for Bixby. With some AI magic, it will analyze your speech and create an AI-generated duplication of your voice, including your unique inflections and tone.
(Image credit: Future)Is Bixby’s AI a little creepy?
We’ve been hearing a lot about AI lately, including ChatGPT and Replika (i.e., a romantic AI companion). I find myself wondering if it’s all a little creepy. Bixby’s AI-based voice duplication feature may come in handy if you’re dodging debt collectors, but could it cause real harm?
As we’ve seen many times with the advent of new technology, threat actors often manipulate it for their own selfish advantage — or to malign others. As such, I have several questions. Does Samsung have access to your AI-generated voice or voice data? If so, what happens if that data gets leaked? What if someone uses your AI-generated voice replica to call your co-workers, friends, family members, business partners, and other loved ones, to wreak havoc on your life?
What if Bixby goes haywire and starts answering all your calls, conversing with people you never intended to?
On top of that, imagine if we transitioned into a world in which AI bots take over our personal interactions. It just feels somewhat disconnected and cold.
AI technology hasn’t been perfected yet, so something is bound to go awry. I don’t know if I can trust a bot to handle my day-to-day affairs. We all find robocalls annoying, so how can we confide in Bixby, a glorified robocaller in and of itself?
Only time will tell whether my concerns may manifest into reality, but as it stands now, I’m skeptical.
The new Bixby feature will roll out to Samsung users sometime in February via a software update.
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