Time to pack your bags, "traditional Ashley."
A radio station in Portland, Oregon has cloned one of its DJs' voices using artificial intelligence and deployed it on-air.
As Tech Crunch reported last week, Portland's Live 95.5 FM radio station is now using "RadioGPT," a GPT-4-powered tool created by the company Futuri Media, to essentially replace human DJs with an AI that speaks and sounds like the real thing.
"I’m like your fun best friend on the radio, with less drama and more meme references," reads Futuri Media's official description of the tool.
In a Twitter post about the part-time AI DJ, Live 95.5's midday host Ashley Elzinga introduced "AI Ashley," her algorithmic voice clone, and enthusiastically showcased how the tech works.
In other words, a radio DJ just proudly announced her AI doppelganger, which could potentially replace her one day.
We made history as the world's first radio station with an AI DJ! Our midday host Ashley has become AI Ashley! We can’t wait for you to meet Ashley, the world's first artificially intelligent DJ. As to the intelligence of our other DJ’s…we’ll save that for another post 😉 pic.twitter.com/CtlMhYU0IO
— Live 95.5 (@live955) June 13, 2023
Although the radio station told Tech Crunch that the AI clone isn't fully replacing "traditional Ashley," folks on Twitter were unsurprisingly quick to point out that the entire display is pretty awkward.
As one user noted, the timing of "RadioGPT" couldn't be worse for the radio industry.
"[Six] radio stations went dark in Canada yesterday as a cost-cutting effort by a major media power in this country," the user wrote, "but I'm sure this will be nothing but positive for an industry that fucking loves to cripple itself."
"Imagine celebrating your replacement," another tweeted about the bizarre spectacle while yet another said they "can't wait for the video when AI Ashley tells Ashley she has 15 minutes to pack her things and [get the fuck out]."
Indeed, it is incredibly strange to watch a human both introduce their AI clone and express excitement over it literally doing their job.
More recently, the station posted a video of AI Ashley at work as it calls a lucky sweepstakes winner to alert them that they'd won tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert. Though the AI introduces itself before the on-air call, it's unclear whether or not the person on the other end of the line knows they're not speaking to a human.
As Tech Crunch noted in its initial report, the radio industry has had it particularly rough in recent years, with iHeartMedia, one of the largest media conglomerates in the US, laying off hundreds of staffers in 2020, restructuring its entire organization and, perhaps most tellingly, investing in AI.
To be clear, 95.5 Live is not owned by iHeartMedia, but the station's excited deployment of "AI Ashley" — and its decision to have the human the AI is based on promoting it — is a grotesque analog of the very job replacement that so many people are worried about.
More on AI and the workforce: GitHub Says 92 Percent of Programmers Are Using AI
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