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The Dark Side of AI Voice Cloning

Why is it in the news?

  • Rising concerns surround AI voice cloning due to a surge in related scams, raising fears about the misuse of this technology.
·       Market US reports a significant growth in the AI voice cloning market, estimating its value at $1.2 billion in 2022, and projecting a substantial increase to nearly $5 billion by 2032, reflecting a notable CAGR of 15-40%.

Voice Cloning


  • Scammers use online programs like Murf, Resemble, and Speechify by uploading audio clips to replicate voices accurately.
  • Recently, AI-generated speeches, like that of imprisoned ex-PM Imran Khan, were used for political purposes.

Diverse Applications

  • Legacy Preservation: AI voice cloning keeps the voices of loved ones alive for future generations. Apple’s iOS 17 introduced voice cloning to aid those at risk of losing their voice to degenerative diseases.
  • Personalized Experiences: Custom virtual assistants, interactive storytelling, and immersive digital interactions.
  • Gaming: Meta’s SeamlessM4T translates nearly 100 languages in real-time, enhancing gaming experiences.
  • Accessibility: Provides a voice for those losing it due to illness or disability.
  • Song Creations: YouTube’s Dream Track allows the creation of song clips featuring AI vocals with permission from pop stars.
  • Creative Applications: Enhancing storytelling, audio games, and immersive experiences.


Emerging Issues

  • Scams and Threats: Incidents like a fake kidnapping in Arizona, U.S., using an AI cloned voice for ransom.
  • Reporting Challenges: Many AI voice cloning cases go unreported, leading to underestimation of the issue.
  • Disinformation: AI voice clones contribute to the spread of fake news, exemplified by Emma Watson’s alleged reading of Mein Kampf.
  • Privacy and Consent Concerns: Unauthorized recording and use of voices without consent raise ethical and privacy concerns.
  • Ethical Considerations: Potential exploitation, manipulation, and emotional harm through impersonation and misuse.
  • Social Implications: Impact on identity, trust, and communication dynamics in the digital age.
  • Hate Speech: Misuse of AI voice cloning tools for generating celebrity hate speech. For instance, conservative political pundit Ben Shapiro’s alleged racist comments against Democrat politician Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.


Measures Taken

  • Regulatory Frameworks: Emphasizes the importance of robust legal and ethical guidelines. For instance, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission considers adopting measures to deter deceptive voice cloning.
  • Technological Safeguards: Watermarking and authentication mechanisms to identify and verify cloned voices.
  • Public Awareness: Vital to educate the public about voice cloning technology and potential risks.
  • Voice Cloning Challenge: Launched by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to gather ideas for detecting, evaluating, and monitoring cloned devices.
  • Responsible Development: Promoting ethical and transparent use of voice cloning for positive societal impact.


India: A Prime Target for AI Voice Cloning Scams


A report titled ‘The Artificial Imposter’ revealed alarming statistics about AI voice clone scams in India:

·       Published in May last year, the report highlighted that 47% of surveyed Indians either experienced or knew someone who fell victim to AI-generated voice scams.

·       This percentage is nearly twice the global average of 25%, making India the top target for AI voice scams.

A specific incident in December involved a Lucknow resident falling victim to a cyberattack that used AI to mimic the voice of the victim’s relative. The attacker requested a substantial amount to be transferred through UPI.


McAfee reported that Indians exhibit particular vulnerability to such scams: 66% of Indian participants admitted they would respond to a voice call or a phone call that seemed to be from a friend or family member urgently in need of money.


The report also highlighted that 86% of Indians were prone to sharing their voice data online or via voice notes at least once a week. This frequent sharing of voice data has made Indians more susceptible to AI voice clone scams, as attackers exploit this readily available information.


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