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**Introducing Microsoft’s Latest AI Tool for Realistic Voice and Face Replication**

In response to criticism that Azure AI Speech was simply a ‘deepfakes creator’, Microsoft said it h…

At Microsoft’s creator conference this week, the company introduced its latest advancement in artificial intelligence technology: a software capable of generating new avatars, voices, and even mimicking a user’s appearance and speech. This development has sparked discussions regarding the implications for deepfakes and the creation of AI-generated videos depicting events that never actually occurred.

Unveiled at Microsoft Ignite 2023, Azure AI Speech is designed to create lifelike images based on human input and deliver spoken content in a manner that mimics natural human speech patterns. Users can input scripts that will be vocalized by these AI-generated realistic avatars, offering options to customize tones, upload images, or choose from a selection of Microsoft avatars. The technology has the potential to be utilized for various applications such as virtual assistants and verbal agents, as highlighted in Microsoft’s recent blog post.

Microsoft emphasized the importance of responsible AI deployment by implementing safeguards to prevent misuse of the text-to-speech technology. The company aims to protect individuals’ rights, facilitate transparent human-computer interactions, and combat the proliferation of harmful deepfakes and misleading content. To ensure ethical usage, Microsoft requires users to adhere to guidelines and seek approval before utilizing modified avatars created through the platform.

In response to concerns raised about the potential misuse of the technology, Microsoft clarified that users must obtain authorization for avatar modifications and disclose when AI technology is employed to generate synthetic voices or avatars. By incorporating these protective measures, Microsoft aims to empower customers to integrate advanced speech capabilities into their AI applications responsibly.

The introduction of this text-to-speech image generation tool reflects the ongoing trend among major tech companies to leverage artificial intelligence advancements. Companies like Meta and Google have also introduced their AI tools in response to the growing demand for AI-driven solutions, following the success of ChatGPT developed by OpenAI with Microsoft’s support.

As the popularity of AI continues to rise, there are increasing concerns about its potential misuse. Industry leaders, including Sam Altman from OpenAI, have highlighted the risks associated with AI technology, particularly its susceptibility to misuse for activities like election interference. To address these challenges, Microsoft has introduced measures to authenticate and safeguard videos, while Meta has implemented policies requiring transparency in AI usage for social advertisements, aiming to combat the spread of disinformation.

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Last modified: February 24, 2024
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