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New AI inspired by the Batman and Harry Potter films has given robots "entirely human" voices.
Its creators got the idea after working with Christian Bale on the set of the Dark Knight films by Christopher Nolan.
London-based Sonantic's AI text-to-speech tool can now match any accent, delivery style, or emotion including crying and shouting.
Co-founder John Flynn, 38, said: "Before I was a speech researcher I spent 10 years in the film industry working in films like Harry Potter and the Dark Knight.
"I used to see for example Christian Bale perform in Dark Knight slightly different nuanced takes each time – that got us thinking how could we capture that performance in a computer voice?"
He told the Daily Star: “Michael Caine is another example of someone who can give this variety, same with Tom Hanks and Tom Hardy.
"After working on films where you see these inspiring performances daily, you quickly realise how speech technology could be so much better if it focussed on the nuances and subtleties that great actors deliver in their performances.
"Current text-to-speech solutions sound robotic and aren’t made for hi-fidelity speech and sound quality, which is why we created Sonantic. We account for all the details and nuances of voice to make it sound entirely human to help entertainment studios develop their stories. "
The AI text reading tool was created using 30 actors now paid royalties with more than 1,000 of companies now on a "waitlist" to use the tech, said Sonantic CEO Zeena Qureshi, 29.
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One of their clients Justin Bell, audio director at Obsidian Entertainment, said: "The difference between the previous text to speech solution was really night and day for us.
"We always go to the studio and record voice over with actors but we generally don't do that while we are iterating on the game and so while we are iterating it's great to have text to speech there."
Mr Flynn added he didn't believe AI tech would ever replace human voice actors but could help the struggling cinema industry by making film-making more affordable.
He said: "We don’t believe films will transition to fully synthetic productions using CGI and AI-generated voices.
"It’s more a question of augmentation rather than replacement. The best CGI characters are still based on motion capturing talented actors and similarly, the film & games industries will still have fantastic, human-powered performances in their games for a long time to come.
"It’s difficult to project cost savings to the consumer but what we can say is that our customers have said we save their audio teams one week’s worth of time every month.
"We definitely hope that we can contribute to keeping the cinema and entertainment industry strong as we come out of this difficult time."
- Artificial Intelligence
- Harry Potter
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