AI voice clones are already being deployed in podcasts and video games, but how long until they can be harnessed directly by the general public? Probably sooner than you think, with Samsung today announcing a feature for its Bixby mobile assistant that lets users clone their voice to answer phone calls. The idea is that if someone calls you but you can’t answer aloud you can type out a response and it’ll be read in a simulacrum of your voice.
Some caveats here: this feature is only currently available in Korean as the Bixby Custom Voice Creator app for a small number of Samsung handsets (the new Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra), which means we’ve been unable to test it ourselves. The voice quality might be abysmal and response time too slow to be useful. But cloning voices to answer calls is well within the scope of current technology, with AI tools able to create realistic copies of voices from just a few minutes of audio.
Answering audio calls via a text interface isn’t new either. On Samsung devices the feature is known as Bixby Text Call, and was introduced with the company’s One UI 5 skin of Android. It was previously only accessible in Korean, but is now available in English using a generic artificial voice (and only with versions 5.1 of One UI). Google offers a similar service called Call Screen which lets you respond to potential spam calls using an automated voice. Though Google’s service only lets you pick from a list of generic responses rather than typing out custom replies.The Verge