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Hearing Voices - Issue #49, or “history in escapist vignettes”

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“It sounds like Snips is playing a little bit of buzz
 

Hearing Voices

June 22 · Issue #49 · View online
This week's news about voice computing apps, delivered directly to your inbox.

“It sounds like Snips is playing a little bit of buzz

I missed last week’s newsletter, so have a big roundup in this one. Also, I’m doing this from my iPad so the formatting is a little different:
To read (and hopefully tweet):
> I wrote this post on Synthetic Media (think Lyrebird being synthesized voice + synthesized video). Please give it a share if you like it: https://render.betaworks.com/the-future-will-be-synthesized-853687daa71b

To Try: 
> The Memory Palace Podcast - each episode features an interesting historical figure and to me it’s an experiment in episode length, each episode is as long as it needs to be.  Some are as short as 3 minutes. The New Yorker described it as “history in escapist vignettes.” Here’s the full article about it: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/podcast-dept/the-memory-palace-history-in-escapist-vignettes
Newz:
> Alexa launches for hotels https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/19/17476688/amazon-alexa-for-hospitality-announced-hotels-echo
> Google launched a podcasting app: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/19/17475878/google-podcast-app-android-download-launch-date
> Alexa keeps recordings of your voice locally. You can listen to them. One couple accidentally said something that sounded like “Alexa” and then also heard “send a voice message” and then it listened their conversation and then asked “send to whom” and (misheard) one of their contacts. So without the couple knowing it, their conversation was recorded and sent to someone in their contact list. This is mainly just buggy software but it does underline the reality that Alexa is recording when it thinks it hears the word Alexa. It only records locally (unless it accidentally sends it to a contact). You can hear what it’s recorded locally. Here’s how: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-alexa-voice-recordings-how-to-access-them-2018-5
> “Google Stole Our Idea.” Despite its provocative title, actually a really good layout of the state of AI as applied to real time phone calls, regarding the launch of Duplex. https://medium.com/little-world-inside-john-done/google-stole-our-idea-eff8e7c00c1f
> Snips launches ICO and new voice assistant: https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/25/snips-announces-an-ico-and-its-own-voice-assistant-device/
> I participated in a meetup put together by Product Hunt at betaworks on the future of voice from the content perspective. Some people asked me for my slide so here they are. This link is humorously log. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zC8Y5UDyYZsfIDPuozME_xn7PooOwVvurypiTmD_jMM/edit?actionButton=1&t=5b17499b&userstoinvite=edlynyuen@gmail.com#slide=id.g3bb53dc191_1_23

Synthetic Media:
This is a new section, which I can’t format because, again, iPad. Writing my medium post (The Future Will Be Synthesized) I started to see how much of a role voice/speech synthesis plays in making forged videos like the ones I describe in my blog post. So this week I’m including a section on other related synthetic media: 
> Forged video of the president - A Flemish newsletter released a satirical fake video of the US President. I don’t think it fooled anyone and was done with primitive technology but it underscores the impact of the technology getting so much better. News outlets reported the story but most didn’t include the source video. Here it is: https://twitter.com/sp_a/status/998089909369016325
> Skam Austin - Okay so right now this is ostensibly not related to voice or potentially even synthetic media, but you’ll see how it might converge in the future. Skam Austin is a new show which is broadcast on Facebook and which comes out in real-time matched with when an episode is going to happen. So if the characters are going out on Saturday night, that segment airs on Saturday night. The characters are active on instagram. If you read my medium post above, you learned about Lil Maquela, an instagram celebrity powered by CGI. She doesn’t actually exist but takes selfies and has 1m+ followers. Skam Austin gives us a sense of where this could go. Characters, whether real (Skam Austin) or Synthetic (Lil Maquela) are behaving like regular “real” people on social media. And fans are engaging. This makes for an entirely different type of storyline. What would happen if synthetic media were used to create an entirely new person who didn’t exist in real life. Most people never interact IRL with motive stars or politicians, so how different would a virtual candidate or movie star be? Here’s a great post on Skam Austin. Thanks @jarednewman for pointing me to it https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/06/18/skam-the-radical-teen-drama-that-unfolds-one-post-at-a-time

That’s it for this week. Trying to include a bit more analysis based on some of your feedback. Let me know what you think.
Have a great weekend

Matt hrt.mn
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