Books Can Now Be Read To You By Their AI Authors

Harin - Aug 21, 2019, 1:30 pm IST


Chinese search engine Sogou is using AI tech to replicate an author’s voice — making it sound like they’re the person narrating an audiobook.

In China, the market for audiobooks is constantly growing. And similar to the US, people love to listen to the voice of authors narrating their own books. Normally, it could take the writer up to one month to complete the recording process. However, things might be different now as China’s search engine Soyou starts deploying artificial intelligence (AI) tech to mimic an author’s voice to make it sound like they are the narrator even when they have never actually read it.

By combining an author’s video clips, text-to-speech tech, and AI, Sogou states that listeners can actually feel like they are looking at the writer and listening to their voice.

Sogou-Ai-Authors
The news anchor from Sogou.

During the China Online Literature+ conference, the first two authors were announced by the company to receive the avatar treatment. They are Bu Xin Tian Shang Diao Xian Bing and Yue Guan. Sogou will release the video readings on the e-reader app of Zhangyue Technology.

If consumers well-receive these AI author avatars, there will be more to come. And that would just be the starting point.

In the future, a company could even produce books from deceased authors with them being the narrators, as long as there are enough audio as well as video footage. Eventually, hologram technology could also be incorporated to give book lovers the feeling of attending the reading session of their favorite author.

Since last fall, the AI news anchors from Sogou have already been working for Xinhua, a state-owned news agency. While the anchors are said to be based on the real human anchors, people still know that they are watching avatars whose mouth movements, voices, and facial expressions are created with deep learning techniques.

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