The News Today
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8.21.19
Book Smart

These AI Author Avatars Will Read Their Books to You

August 15th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Sogou

Author Avatars

Audiobooks are a growing market in China, and just like in the U.S., listeners love to hear authors narrate their own books.

That can sometimes require a writer to dedicate up to a month to the recording process. But now, Chinese search engine Sogou is using artificial intelligence tech to replicate not only an author’s voice — making it sound like they’re the person narrating an audiobook even if they’ve never read it aloud — but also their likeness.

Faked Reading

Using a combination of AI, text-to-speech tech, and video clips of an author, Sogou claims it can make it look and sound like the writer is reading their book to you.

At the China Online Literature+ conference, the company announced that the first two authors to receive this avatar treatment will be Yue Guan and Bu Xin Tian Shang Diao Xian Bing, with the video readings set for release on Zhangyue Technology’s e-reader app.

Ghost Writer

If these first AI author avatars are well-received, others could follow — and that could just be the jumping-off point.

A company could produce book readings by deceased authors, for example, as long as enough audio and video footage exists. Eventually, they could even incorporate hologram technology to really give bibliophiles the feeling of being at their favorite author’s reading.

READ MORE: AI reads books out loud in authors’ voices [BBC News]

More on AI: China Unveils the World’s First Female AI News Anchor