A spooky podcast episode features a Steve Jobs AI being “interviewed” by a Joe Rogan AI – and the effect is mesmerizing, despite the flaws …
Podcast.ai describes how the process works.
Podcast.ai is a weekly podcast that explores a new topic in depth, entirely generated by artificial intelligence. The episodes are rendered using play.ht’s ultra-realistic voices, and transcripts are generated with fine-tuned language models. For example, the Steve Jobs episode was trained on his biography and all recordings of him we could find online so the AI could accurately bring him back to life.
The company explains why it chose Steve as the first “guest.”
We wanted to push the boundaries of what is possible in current state of the art speech synthesis, we wanted to create content that can inspire others to do the same, and there was no one who inspired and impacted the technology world more than Steve Jobs, that’s why in the first episode we brought his voice back to life.
The voices have a number of flaws. There’s a slight robotic edge to them, the intonation sometimes doesn’t match the content, and there’s not enough variation in the pacing. The laughter is also pretty terrible! All that said, it’s still remarkable how close the voices sound to the real thing when you aren’t actively listening for these things.
Describing the content as AI-generated is, I think, a real stretch. It’s very clear that the system is lifting the text of entire paragraphs from recordings, rather than generating completely new content. It’s effectively picking up on keywords and then looking for actual quotes on that topic, rather than truly generating new responses.
The impact, then, is that it sounds a bit like a collection of Steve soundbites rather than a real interview. Despite that, it’s still a somewhat eerie experience listening to it!
The company’s vision could certainly be said to be pushing the boundaries, though I’m not sure whether Steve would have approved of it.
At Play.ht, We believe in a future where all content creation will be generated by AI but guided by humans, and the most creative work will depend on the human’s ability to articulate their desired creation to the machine.
We are building that future, starting by a major building block of it which is the emotional and expressive human-like synthetic speech generation and ability to clone any voice with perfect resemblance.
We hope others are inspired by this work and start creating even more creative audio and video content using generative AI.
So far, AI systems are writing simple content with a predictable format, such as sports news and financial reporting, where names and numbers are plugged into a tried-and-tested template. But the idea of a future where “all content” is generated by AI seems as far-fetched as it is unappealing.
What are your thoughts on the Steve Jobs AI? Let us know in the comments after you’ve listened to it here: