Cereproc, a company based in Scotland has given new voice for US journalist Jamie Dupree. Jamie lost the ability to speak due to a rare medical condition in 2016.
Dupree was off the air after he lost his voice, but now after a two-year absence, he will be back broadcasting this month with a new AI-generated voice on WSB Atlanta and other stations.
‘It is me, there is no doubt about that,’ Dupree told the BBC. ‘Yes, it is slightly robotic, but no-one was promising me that it was going to be perfect.’
Cereproc has created over 250 voices for people who have lost the ability to speak. Often they lose their voice due to degenerative diseases like Motor Neurone Disease (ALS) or throat cancer.
CTO of Cereproc Christopher Cox said, ‘We take a big database of speech and cut it up and stitch it back together,’ Cereproc collected data from Dupree’s previous shows and even accurately transcribes any ‘ums’ and ‘ers,’ as well as tiny mispronunciations.
Cox explained: ‘We take that text and that audio, we break it down into the sounds of the language. We don’t use words as units, it’s broken down into the vowels and consonant sounds that you have in English.’
The advantage of such AI-generated voices is that people can have a voice that really sounds like them, and this even goes for people who have never spoken.