AI company reads the names of dead celebrities. Listen to what it sounds like.

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Listening to Sir Laurence Olivier's voice while checking your work notes might not provide the same thrill as watching the acclaimed British actor on stage and screen, but it could make your morning commute a lot more interesting.

That's the vision of artificial intelligence startup ElevenLabs, which announced this week that fans of Hollywood stars like Judy Garland and James Dean will be able to listen to the deceased movie stars read books, articles, and other digital texts.

The company announced deals with the estates of Olivier, Garland, Dean and Burt Reynolds to add their voices to the library of AI-generated voices in Eleven Labs' new Reader app, which allows users to listen to texts on their phones and stream the actors' voices individually.

Eleven Labs did not disclose details about the financial compensation it would provide to the actors' estates.

“We deeply respect their work and are honored to have their voices as part of our platform,” Dustin Blank, head of partnerships at Eleven Labs, said in a blog post. “Adding them to our growing list of narrators marks a major step towards our mission to make content accessible in every language and voice.”

Judy Garland's daughter and estate executor, Liza Minnelli, said in a post that the family looks forward to “watching our mother's voice reach the countless people who loved her.”

ElevenLabs Iconic Voice – Judy Garland by
Eleven Lab On YouTube

The use of AI to recreate someone's voice has attracted negative attention for being used in nefarious ways, including one created earlier this year. Fake robocalls President Joe Biden has urged people not to vote in New Hampshire's presidential primary.

In another incident, actress Scarlett Johansson Mei said he was “shocked, angry and in disbelief” when he noticed that the voice option in OpenAI's ChatGPT app sounded similar to his own voice. Johansson had declined an offer from OpenAI founder Sam Altman to be the voice for ChatGPT's text-to-speech product. Altman said the voice did not belong to Johansson.

AI is, SAG-AFTRA strike Last year, new actor contracts included restrictions on artificial intelligence: TV and film producers must get actors' consent to use digital replicas, and actors are also entitled to be paid for using AI to create their virtual likenesses.

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