[Not LV] VocaliD: Human Voicebank Initiative

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tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » May 1st, 2015, 5:32 pm

Height! Aren't their recipients mostly chair-bound or bed-ridden?

Some folks don't mind their personal information copied everywhere and used who-knows-how. I am just not one of them. If they are developing some kind of a system to match voice to physical characteristics, to be used later to recognize people from the sound of their voice, I am not sure I want to be mixed up in that... Once they get your data and your voice, there is at this point no promise on their part not to use it against you as evidence at a trial, say. I don't know (yet) whether a voice-print is as unique as a fingerprint or DNA, but until it's cleared up, I'm not spreading it around, identifiable as my own, without assurances that it's not going to be used for some sinister purposes. And those assurances are lacking.
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Post by Availle » May 1st, 2015, 5:38 pm

tovarisch wrote:Height! Aren't their recipients mostly chair-bound or bed-ridden.
Maybe they're looking for somebody who wouldn't talk down to them?


I agree with what else you say.
I am very careful about the information I post online that could identify me. That includes not posting personal information anywhere (including photos) and avoiding social media like facebook for example. Every bit helps.
Cheers,
Ava.

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Post by Availle » May 1st, 2015, 6:07 pm

I think I now get what they are trying to do by reading the email sent to MClavie above. Again, emphasis mine.
vocalID wrote:It all began with the realization that millions of people who rely on computerized voices to communicate have access to only a handful of generic options, yet many of them have unique vocal identities that could - and should - be harnessed. We wouldn’t dream of fitting a little girl with the prosthetic limb of a grown man: why, then, the same prosthetic voice?
VocaliD Inc., a socially motivated company aimed at designing custom-crafted voices
If I understand this correctly, they are creating voices like the one Stephen Hawking is using. Which is very cool. The question remains why height is important in this. I have met very short men with booming voices and huge women who spoke like Minnie Mouse.

And then we get:
Our world-class, dedicated team is committed to bringing VocaliD™ voices to market by 2016. In the meantime, we are gathering donor voices through our virtual voicebank recording platform (www.VocaliD.co/voicebank), investing in continued research and development, and raising funds to support our commercialization efforts.
Surely, the market is very restricted by the nature of the product? How many Stephen Hawkings are out there?

So... whom are they marketing to? I have some ideas but they are all X-rated...
Cheers,
Ava.

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Isana
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Post by Isana » May 1st, 2015, 7:58 pm

Kangaroo692 wrote::shock:
The app will be called Croaky Cupid.

Okay, I'll stop now.

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Post by Availle » May 2nd, 2015, 12:29 am

:lol:

"Croaky Cupid: Listen to your frog before you kiss it!"
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Isana
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Post by Isana » May 2nd, 2015, 2:42 am

Availle wrote:
"Croaky Cupid: Listen to your frog before you kiss it!"
:lol:

This app will make a lot of money. *ribbit*

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » May 2nd, 2015, 1:28 pm

And, if I read it right, they want three or four hours of recording from a donor.

I can't see that they're going to be creating this service for free, yet they're recruiting free volunteers for their pool of voices. I really do feel that they should be paying voice donors for the work.

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Post by RuthieG » May 2nd, 2015, 1:54 pm

I'm not going anywhere near it.

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Gruv2nz
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Post by Gruv2nz » May 25th, 2015, 5:01 pm

I'm a voice donor for them. I quite enjoy it.
Helping to give a voice for those that can't speak is awesome.

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Post by TriciaG » May 25th, 2015, 5:10 pm

From what has been quoted, it sounds like you're helping a company SELL a voice to those who can't speak rather than giving them one. Or do you have other information that says they're giving the voices away?

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Post by J_N » June 10th, 2015, 12:43 pm

Maybe they can charge less for the voice if they don't have to pay for voice donors as well? as I understand it, they need several voices to create 1 artificial one... and with the research and stuff behind it, I reckon it's not cheap... a bit like drug companies... if there is no profit incentive, drugs don't get researched... :evil:
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david wales
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Post by david wales » October 20th, 2016, 3:56 pm

Another way to give our voices away.

Researcher Rupal Patel has developed a way to take recorded voices and give them the vocal characteristics of the voiceless (sometimes only a short sound or syllable can characterize), so that a voice which issues from the computer of the voiceless one is not the sterile monotone of the robot but a sound which bears characteristics of the voiceless one. She says in her TED talk that this can change the world for those who formerly had no sound of their own. She is collecting voiced vocabulary that can serve as the base for these transformations. I immediately thought that I could do that and have begun; it’s a very simple process; one simply records given sentences on the website. It seems to me that giving our voices away is in our librivox dna and I thought some more of us might be interested to do the same.

Here is the site address for her company: https://www.vocalid.co/

Here is her TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?language=en

And here is some explanation from the welcoming email I received when I signed up:

The voice company that brings speaking machines to life. VocaliD is mapping the vocal genome to share the gift of voice
Thank you for your interest in VocaliD.

VocaliD began with the realization that even those with limited speech have unique vocal identities that could - and should - be harnessed. Through scientific and technological advances we have developed techniques to create personalized text-to-speech voices by blending several hours of donor speech with as little as a vowel sound from the recipient.
Founded in 2014, our mission is to create voices that celebrate our unique vocal identities so that every voice is heard. To offer personalized voices at a reasonable cost, we launched The Human Voicebank Initiative, our effort to gather the largest and most diverse collection of speech recordings from "everyday talkers" worldwide. At VocaliD, we believe that access to a personal vocal identity isn't a luxury - it's a right.

As a donor, your recordings are an important part of our ability to offer VocaliD™ voices to all those in need. We need English speakers of all ages from a variety of geographical and cultural backgrounds to craft voices that fit and honor our recipients.

We will continue to make great strides towards the fulfillment of our mission with the ongoing support and involvement of people like you. Please follow our journey on the web and on social media, and help us spread the word.
Together, we can transform lives!
Sincerely,
Rupal Patel
Founder | VocaliD

And finally, from the website: The Human Voicebank celebrates the diversity and richness of human voice. With over 14,000 members all over the world contributing millions of sentences to our platform, we're building a community that will empower voices everywhere.

Add your voice to The Human Voicebank and share the gift of voice today.
Peace, David

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Post by Availle » October 20th, 2016, 4:40 pm

I have merged this with the previous thread about this topic, in fact, about this company.


Personally, I have come to the conclusion that I am happy to donate my voice and time for free to a volunteer, non-profit organisation like librivox, but not so much to a commercial company that's going to make money out of it...
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Ava.

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david wales
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Post by david wales » October 20th, 2016, 5:04 pm

I see the hesitancies here. I guess I think that:

1) I wouldn't want to support a commercial company selling, say, deodorant. But to make a voice available to the voiceless, even if someone makes a buck from it, seems ok to me. and

2) I don't see much difference in recording for this company and releasing our books without any limitation whatsoever. We know that others take our work and monetize it. We still do it because it's good work.

I'm going to continue to record for them.
Peace, David

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Post by SonOfTheExiles » October 20th, 2016, 6:48 pm

On the height issue, I seem to remember a movie with Darryl Hannah sending up the advertising industry with an Honesty in Advertising theme.

One of the satirical adverts for Sony had the company's supposed CEO saying that Japanese people, being shorter on average, were closer to the electronics on the assembly bench, and hence made better products.

The slogan at the end was: "Sony Electronics. Because Caucasians are just too damn tall."

Maybe it's a microphone distance issue.

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