AI “lifelike” avatars to narrate popular novels in authors’ voices

Last fall, the Chinese search engine Sogou launched two AI newsreaders, still working for China’s state-run news agency Xinhua. But the company hasn’t stopped there, it has now created artificial-intelligence “lifelike” avatars of two Chinese authors to read popular novels in authors’ voices.

Sogou used AI, text-to-speech technology and video clips were taken at the China Online Literature+ conference to create the AI avatars of Chinese authors Yue Guan and Bu Xin Tian Shang Diao Xian Bing.

According to the BBC report, text-to-speech technology can quickly generate an audio version of a book, using digitized, synthetic voices. However, most people prefer audiobooks narrated by authors, actors or famous public figures. But with the AI avatars, Sogou might be able to create the illusion that audiobooks are being read by real people – all thanks to advances in machine learning and speech-to-text technologies, which makes the digitized voices more lifelike.

It’s hard to say whether its audiobook narrators will be any more realistic or not. On its website, it showcases its services with two audio recordings of former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump, created using machine learning.

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