Spotify announced the purchase of Sonanti c, the company responsible for giving voice back to Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick using artificial intelligence. According to Ziad Sultan, Director of Personalization at Spotify, the streaming music platform will integrate Sonantic’s AI voice technology to create new experiences for users.
“This integration will allow us to engage users in a new and even more personalized way,” said Sultan. Spotify mentioned that it has identified potential opportunities for text-to-speech capabilities on the platform. Using Sonantic’s technology would allow recommendations to be given context when you’re not looking at the screen. “
Using voice right now can lower the barriers to creating new audio experiences and open the door to even more new opportunities,” Spotify said. Sonic co-founders Zeena Qureshi and John Flynn said: that they believe in the power of voice to foster a deeper connection with music platform users.
The Sonic name may sound new to many, however, the company is behind major projects in entertainment and the automotive industry. The AI voice platform powers the voice assistant of the Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX. The company revealed that they worked with the car company’s engineers to create a more natural and intuitive experience inside the car.
Sonic and the voice of Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick
Sonic’s text-to-speech technology is also used in video games, although one of its biggest apps debuted a few days ago. The company grabbed the spotlight for returning Val Kilmer’s voice in Top Gun: Maverick. The actor who plays Iceman lost the ability to speak after undergoing treatment for throat cancer.
Kilmer’s return was announced in 2018 and some wondered what his participation in the new film would be like. Even though Iceman only has one line in Top Gun: Maverick, getting it to sound like the original voice took many hours of work. Sonic implemented new algorithms that resulted in 40 different voices close to Kilmer’s. Later he chose the most expressive and best quality.
Val Kilmer’s voice in Top Gun: Maverick was a mixed job of training an AI model and making manual adjustments. The result is surprising, although some have already pointed out the problems that the use of this technology could cause.
Synthetic voices created by AI could represent a problem in the future
Rupal Patel, a professor of communication sciences at Northeastern University, warned about the potential abuse of using synthetic voices. In early 2020, attackers cloned a businessman’s voice using artificial intelligence to steal more than $35 million from his bank account.
“It’s going to be important that the companies that are creating voice clones have a seat at the table to understand how to prevent this technology from being misused and abused,” he said. Patel says the ethical dangers go beyond criminal activity and could also present a problem for voice actors.
For now, it is unknown if Sonantic will continue to offer its services to companies or will be fully integrated into Spotify.