British naturalist Sir David Attenborough has expressed concern about a digital “clone” of his voice created using artificial intelligence after a video of him went viral on social media last week, Business Insider reports.

Wax statue of Sir David Attenborough from Madame TussaudsPhoto: Madame Tussauds in London / The Mega Agency / Profimedia Images

Last week, Charlie Holtz, a programmer at Replicate, a San Francisco-based training company, went viral on “X,” formerly known as Twitter, after posting a video of an experiment in which he used AI tools to recreate Attenborough’s voice to tell a story. what he does in front of the web cam.

“Here we have an amazing specimen of Homo Sapiens, distinguished by its silvery round glasses and mane of tangled curls,” Attenborough’s digitally reproduced voice said, among other things. The narration feels spontaneous, self-contained and realistic, as it reproduces not only the voice of the British naturalist, but also his characteristic conversational style.

Holtz used in his experiment exactly a tool developed by OpenAI – GPT-4-vision, which can “describe” what it sees – and lines of code from Eleven Labs, a startup that deals with the generation of voices with the help of AI. While recording a video of the experiment, the programmer also published the source code he used to reproduce the British naturalist’s voice.

Sir David Attenborough’s reaction after seeing his digital ‘clone’

“The fact that I find it personally disturbing may not matter at all to people who freely share the ability to create fake versions of me regardless of my feelings,” Attenborough, 97, said in an email to Business Insider.

“But I am deeply concerned that one day, and that day may be very close, someone will use artificial intelligence to trick others into thinking that I am saying things that are contrary to my beliefs, or to distort the broader issues that I have, which I have dedicated my life to. explain and popularize them,” added Attenborough, known for his decade-long efforts to promote the preservation of the natural environment.

Holtz’s post had more than 3.5 million views on “X” at the time of publication. However, it should be noted that the platform, bought by Elon Musk last year, has a special way of counting traffic generated by a post, counting views and impressions from a user’s feed, even if he did not click on the corresponding post.

The concerns of Attenborough, one of the most famous documentary hosts in history, about the use of AI are shared by Hollywood actors, who agreed to leave only after receiving broad assurances from major studios that they would not use artificial intelligence to replace them in films and TV series.