In Brief
  • Adobe has demonstrated its latest software — codenamed Project VoCo — that's capable of easily editing the speech of people by simply cutting, pasting, and adding words to a digital transcript.
  • Project VoCo may help create some entertaining content, but also runs the risk of helping already rampant disinformation campaigns on the Internet.

Putting Words in Your Mouth

Software capable of synthesizing and altering the human voice has been around for some time. But Adobe has taken the technology to the next level with a scarily accurate audio tool that quickly puts anyone’s speech in an editable format.

Project VoCo, unveiled at the annual IMAX event, takes an audio sample and generates a transcript you can easily edit to make the speaker say whatever you want simply by cutting, pasting, and adding words. As The Next Web notes, it’s “basically Photoshop for audio.”

“The algorithm does the rest and makes it sound like the original speaker said those words,” Adobe said in a statement.

The software is still under development by Adobe Research and a team from Princeton, according to The Verge. Adobe has yet to provide a release date or the cost of buying the software.

Risk of Abuse?

Project VoCo offers new ways to create entertaining content, but it also presents a path to abuse. The Internet era is full of misinformation already, so it’s not hard to imagine people waging disinformation campaigns using the tool.

One day soon, we may have to ensure what we hear from politicians, celebrities, and other prominent public figures hasn’t been doctored by Adobe’s upcoming technology.

You can watch the reveal of Project VoCo at the IMAX event below. (And a reaction from comedian Jordan Peele.)