AI voice generator abused by 4Chan to make celebrities say vile things

Emma Watson, a woman who was targeted by 4chan with an ai voice generator, smiling

Emma Watson, a woman who was targeted by 4chan with an ai voice generator, smiling

An AI voice cloning tool that released for free has already been heavily abused by 4chan. Users of the controversial online forum adopted AI voice generator ElevenLabs to create clips of famous celebrities spewing vile hatespeech.

ElevenLabs’ AI voice generator was not only adopted for its quality, but also its speed. Furthermore, the software does not have any limits for what a user can make their stolen voices say, leading to a barrage of hateful speech being created with the tool.

Via Vice, 4Chan users have adopted the technology to create false recordings of celebrities saying harmful and offensive statements. Celebrities including Joe Rogan, Emma Watson and more had their voices manipulated to say things that they never said in real life. At least not on recording.

The report explains that one user made Harry Potter actress and women’s rights activist Emma Watson recite passages from Adolf Hitler’s Main Kamf. Another example had far-right political influencer Ben Shapiro repeatedly make racist statements about democratic politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

ElevenLabs’ voice software is quick and powerful. Unlike other AI voice clones, this quick-and-easy generation sounds remarkably lifelike and only takes seconds to work. However, that also means that the technology is undoubtedly dangerous.

We’ve already seen video deepfake technology being used for nefarious purposes. Not only are celebrities often deepfaked into explicit materials, but also attempts at political espionage. For example, Russian hackers created a fake video of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy surrendering in an attempt to fool Ukrainian citizens.

Deepfakes have proven so controversial that online server companies are banning the use of the tech using their services. Google recently kicked all deepfake research projects off Google Colab, banning the tech for its dangerous uses. However, the technology does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Due to its popularity in the entertainment industry, deepfakes for both video and audio will continue to be improved. Famously, Disney and Lucasfilm used deepfake technology to bring back a young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Additionally, in more lighthearted news, Batman and Top Gun actor Val Kilmer has used an audio deepfake to regain his voice following a long battle with throat cancer.

While deepfakes are fantastic for those purposes, good technology will always be abused by those with nefarious goals. So, what happens next?

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