Descript acquires Lyrebird and creates an amazing synergy in the audio editing market.
The video in this article is one of the best marketing videos of 2019. It’s so well edited, you may miss the technological leap it presents. So, what is it about? Descript is a product that was released more than a year ago. It allows you to edit audio and speech in the same way you would edit a word document. Speech is converted to text, and you can simply delete words or move them around. Instead of having editing the sound file. Descript then went on to acquired Lyrebird, in what seems to demonstrate the meaning of the term Synergy. It changed everything.
Lyrebird is software that has the ability to sample your voice and using AI it can reproduce your voice saying any words the user chooses. For a while, Lyrebird had been pondering what the use cases for such a service would be. Aside from the creation of viral videos of Trump and Obama “saying” things they never meant to say. The combination of Lyrebird and Descrip has created a brand new type of audio engine. Now you can record yourself, have it automatically converted to a text file, then change the text with your keyboard. You are then able to playback and listen to your own voice, saying what you have written with your keyboard! It uses your voice, and will even emphasise words in the same way you do. So what can be done with it, besides generating deep fakes?
The Revoice project is an excellent example of technology providing a real positive change in the life of very ill people. Lyrebird takes voice samples of misfortunate people who develop Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. One of the most emotionally painful effects of ALS is that the patient over time will lose their ability to speak. The Revoice service allows ALS patients to use their own recreated voice and intonation. Giving them a voice again, instead of a cold computerized voice such as Stephen Hawking’s.
Revoice website features a video of Pat Quinn, who founded the Ice Bucket viral challenge back in 2014, with his goal to raise awareness for ALS and boost research efforts. By 2018, Pat Quinn has already lost his speech ability. The Lyrebird team went ahead and collected voice samples from the many interviews and speeches Quinn has given in the past, while promoting awareness for ALS. They were successful in recreating his voice and gifted him the ability to communicate in his own voice again. What else can be done with it? Think of the thriving podcast space – it installs a complete disruption to it, bringing it closer to text journalism. No longer do you have to record a podcast or an audio book, just type it out!