Biden's AI chief says 'voice cloning' is what keeps him up at night

  • Biden's AI chief Bruce Reed is worried about audio deep fakes.

  • He said that "voice cloning" is the one thing that keeps him up at night, Politico reported.

  • Voice cloning platforms are ripe for misuse because of their accessibility.

AI technology that can convincingly recreate human voices is shaping up to be a key concern among lawmakers.

"Voice cloning is one thing that keeps me up at night," White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed told Politico. Reed, who's been charged with leading the Biden administration's AI strategy, called the technology "frighteningly good," even though it's still pretty new.

"It hasn't dawned on society yet how much the notion of perfect voice fakes could upend our lives. No one will answer the phone if they can't be sure whether the voice on the other side is real or fake," he told Politico.

Phone scammers, for example, have already been exploiting advancements in voice cloning technology to make their schemes more believable.

In March, the FTC said that scammers were relying on AI technology to "enhance" their family emergency scams — using voice cloning programs to convince people their family members were in distress.

In April, one mother in Arizona received a call from a scammer who had used voice cloning software to pretend he had kidnapped her daughter. "It was completely her voice. It was her inflection," she told a local news outlet at the time. Scammers need just three or four seconds of someone's voice to create a convincing clone with an 85% match, according to a report from security software McAfee.

At the same time, New York City Mayor Eric Adams says that AI-generated clones of his own voice have helped him connect with a broader swath of the city's population.

Since last year, he's been robocalling residents in a handful of languages he doesn't speak, including Mandarin, Spanish, and Yiddish. Adams says the robocalls have helped him reach more of the city's non-English speaking residents. People have even stopped him on the street to ask him if he speaks Mandarin. Some academics and privacy experts say Adam's initiative is still deceptive, or at least points to the fact that politicians need to set clearer ground rules on how they use AI.

Many of these platforms are ripe for misuse. They're accessible, and using them is pretty straightforward.

Adams is relying on a voice cloning platform from ElevenLabs that's free to use and needs less than one minute of an individual's audio to generate a "high-quality" clone, according to its website. And soon after it launched in beta in January, ElevenLabs issued a statement saying it had noticed an increasing number of "voice cloning misuse cases."

ElevenLabs didn't offer specific details about the cases at the time, but Vice reported that audio deepfake clips of Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, and Emma Watson making racist, violent, and transphobic comments generated through its software had been uploaded onto the imageboard site 4chan.

Read the original article on Business Insider