Is AI-Generated Speech Revolutionary Or A Major Threat? 

Voice cloning involves using AI-generated voiceovers to create synthetic voices that closely resemble real individuals.

Leading up to a recent New Hampshire Democratic primary election, potential voters received a recorded message urging them to save their vote for the upcoming November election. The voice in the message sounded a lot like the President, but it wasn’t Joe Biden – it was likely an AI clone. This event raised concerns about AI-generated audio scams, as technology continues to become more advanced.

With major elections coming up in the UK, US, and India, there are concerns about the use of audio deepfakes to spread misinformation and influence democratic outcomes. Politicians worldwide have been targeted by deepfakes. Cybersecurity agencies warn of AI-generated misinformation risks and call for social media platforms and voice cloning technology developers to take action.


What Are The Benefits Of Using AI-Generated Speech?


AI voice technology offers numerous advantages across various industries and applications and can boost communication and user experiences.

AI-powered voice cloning has brought about a significant improvement in accessibility for individuals suffering from speech impairments due to conditions such as ALS, throat cancer, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease. Previously, voice banking was an expensive and time-consuming process, but with the help of AI it has become more accessible. Patients have reported feeling more confident and connected to the world with computer-generated voices that closely resemble their own.

Automated voice assistants and chatbots have become a popular way to handle customer inquiries, reducing the need for human intervention and improving response times. This streamlined process saves time and resources, which results in enhanced operational efficiency and reduced costs.

AI voice technology produces exceptional speech quality that competes with human voices in clarity and pronunciation. This technology makes the audio experience more engaging and immersive for users. AI voice systems can also resemble different emotions and add depth and character to audio content. This leads to more personalised and compelling interactions between users and the technology.

Additionally, AI voice technology overcomes language barriers through real-time translation or text-to-speech conversion. This ensures smoother cross-cultural interactions and global collaboration. The technology also offers a diverse range of voices and dialects, promoting inclusivity and representation in various applications. This linguistic diversity not only enriches cultural heritage but also aids in language preservation efforts.


What Are The Dangers Of AI-Generated Speech?


While this technology has positive applications, such as aiding those who have lost their voices or enhancing entertainment experiences, it also poses significant threats.

Fraudsters exploit voice cloning to deceive and manipulate individuals by impersonating trusted figures like friends, relatives, or authorities. They use these fake voices in scams, attempting to trick victims into providing sensitive information or financial assets. These schemes can inflict both financial and emotional harm, as they exploit trust and manipulate emotions.

The authenticity of these scams makes them difficult to detect, leading to financial losses and emotional distress for victims. Moreover, they undermine trust in online communication and transactions, posing broader implications for cybersecurity.

As AI technology advances and becomes more accessible, the prevalence of voice cloning scams is likely to increase. To avoid these threats, individuals must remain vigilant and educated about AI-generated scams. Implementing preventive measures and being cautious when receiving unexpected requests for information or funds can help lessen the risks associated with voice cloning fraud.


How To Protect Yourself From Cloned Scam Calls


To protect yourself against AI voice-cloning scam calls, consider following these tips:


Block Spam Calls

Use call-blocking services offered by your phone service provider or install a spam-filtering app such as Truecaller, Roboshield, or Hiya to minimise spam calls.


Avoid Unknown Numbers

Do not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers as they could potentially be scams. Scammers may record your voice from these calls to carry out AI voice scam calls targeting your contacts.


Fact-Check The Caller

If you do answer an unknown call, do not speak first. Verify the caller’s claims, especially in emergency situations, by fact-checking through other means such as texting the supposed family member directly.


Create A Safe Word

Establish a safe word with your family for emergency situations. This word can serve as a verification tool to confirm the authenticity of callers claiming emergencies.

As major elections are approaching, there is a possibility of audio deepfakes being used to spread misinformation. Individuals must remain vigilant and take necessary measures to protect themselves. People must understand the benefits and dangers of AI-generated speech and should take precautions such as blocking spam calls and verifying unknown callers. As technology progresses, staying informed and proactive is essential to protect ourselves against potential threats posed by AI-generated voiceovers.