Last week at Adobe MAX, developer Zeyu Jin introduced a piece of software that has the potential to play a significant part in the development of audio technology. Over the course of only a few minutes, Jin converts an audio clip of Key and Peele’s Michael Key saying “I jumped on the bed and I kissed my dogs and my wife, in that order,” to “I kissed Jordan three times.” Being praised as “the first software of it’s kind,” and “Photoshop for speech,” VoCo essentially can make new, unspoken lines of speech out of your own voice. The most intriguing aspect of the software is that it’s actually convincing.
While this technology is undeniably interesting, not everyone is happy. Adobe suggests that a possible use of the software would be to fix voiceover recordings without having to re-record, but critics say that the risk of a further distrust in journalism would far outweigh the benefits.
Since the releases of applications such as Photoshop have caused distrust for photojournalism, we’ve relied more heavily on audio clips. What will ensue when people can create false statements, claim they’ve been uttered by public figures, and the public won’t be able to determine whether it’s real or not? Until now, we’ve relied on spoken word for something real, so if we can’t trust either photos or audio clips, what can we trust?
Despite all controversies, Adobe hasn’t set a release date, or even declared whether a release will happen. An Adobe spokesperson has stated that the technology “May or may not be released as product or product feature.” Whatever happens, VoCo will certainly be a software to not forget about any time soon.