In this age of hyper-personal technology, Apple has made the leap from responding to your voice to mimicking it. Picture this: You’re lounging on the couch watching “The Crown” and scrolling through endless emails when you hear a FaceTime call.
The sounds your friends make greet you just like they do. It’s like stepping into an episode of “Black Mirror” when you realize you’re hearing the voice of a clone.
Welcome to iOS 17, your iPhone and iPad will sound exactly like you when you set up and enable a new feature called Personal Voice. The stuff of science fiction, right? Cloning your voice only takes 15 minutes of your personal voice—faster than making a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup.
Once your voice is safely stored on your device, it can be used with another new feature called Live Speech. Essentially, you, your family or friends can use Live Speech to type something during a phone or FaceTime call, and Live Speech will convert the typed text into a cloned voice of yourself in real time. Instead of reading what you’re typing, Live Speech will speak your own synthesized voice to someone on the receiving end.
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Now, let’s put the “creepily cool” aspect aside for a moment. Apple’s intention behind this seemingly futuristic feature was to improve accessibility for those who might lose their voice. The idea is that we’ll be better able to connect and respond to someone’s own voice or a familiar voice. When you hear it, it’s like having a digital version of yourself.
For some people, especially those with speech impairments, or those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), may one day face the challenge of losing their voices, being able to speak and hear them by typing Familiar voices can bring comfort and ease that ordinary voices or deciphered text just can’t match.
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Let’s face it, though, it might be a little unsettling for the rest of us at first. Imagine your voice echoing from your phone, clear and crisp (perhaps a little better than you remember the pronunciation). It feels like a clone of yourself has taken over, or worse, you’re starting to lose it. Instead, it’s a groundbreaking voice cloning tool that could help those in the future who might not be able to easily speak their words aloud.
Yet, like it or not, we’re diving headlong into this high-tech age where our devices aren’t just smart; they’re becoming our digital twins. They know our habits, our favorite songs, our favorite restaurants, and now, they’re starting to sound like us. It’s safe to say that one day our smartphones may know us better than we do ourselves — for better or worse.
The future is knocking, and it sounds a lot like us, folks.
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Are you ready to distinguish the real voice from a clone of someone you know? When you lose your normal voice, will this uncanny familiarity bring comfort to others, or will it be viewed as weird by those unfamiliar with this new breakthrough voice technology?Let us know, we’d love to hear from you by writing to us Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly mentioned Siri as part of the Personal Voice and has been updated to address the inaccuracy.