You Don’t Say: FTC workshop listens in on voice cloning

Imagine people who have lost the ability to speak communicating in a digital version of their own voice. With just a brief recorded snippet, researchers can use artificial intelligence and text-to-speech synthesis to create a near-perfect voice clone. But it takes even less time to imagine how fraudsters could use that technology to further their scams. On January 28, 2020, FTC staff will examine the consumer protection implications at You Don’t Say: An FTC Workshop on Voice Cloning.

Think of the typical family emergency scam where a con artist calls someone, pretending to be a relative in distress. Or consider its shady corporate cousin: the CEO scam. That’s when a crook, impersonating a company higher-up, calls an employee to transfer money for a purported business purpose. Those scams already steal millions from consumers each year. But what if the fraudster could use technology to clone the voice of a real person?

You Don’t Say will explore the many ways the technology can be positively used – healthcare, entertainment, and other consumer-oriented applications – and potentially abused. Panelists will consider ethical concerns related to the use of cloned voices and the impact on the trustworthiness of oral communications.

You Don’t Say will take place at the FTC’s Constitution Center conference facility, 400 7th Street, S.W., in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public. We’ll also webcast it live on January 28th beginning at 12:30 Eeastern Time. Follow the Business Blog and the You Don’t Say event page for agenda updates.

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