back to article Want to hear our beloved David Attenborough narrate your life? Thanks to the power of machine learning, you can

A tech savvy Reddit dweller has trained a machine-learning model to mimic David Attenborough’s world-famous plummy voice. The award-winning 94-year-old British naturalist is well-known for narrating nature documentaries. Now the UK national treasure's voice has been taken on a joyride to read Reddit comments, rather than …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Attenborough

    One day soon, someone will work out how to put noise into the gaps between words/phrases that matches the noise generated when the robot speaks. I reckon those silences are one of the biggest giveaways at present.

    But it's a bloody good impersonation, bar one or two odd pronunciations.

    1. 6491wm

      Re: Attenborough

      If they did ......... Michael Caine ......... then they woudn't need to .......... worry about the bloody gaps!

  2. Paul Herber Silver badge

    'slight tinny sound'

    I think it needs a more woody sound. Attenborough, now there's a good woody word!

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      I think it needs a more woody sound.

      Gorn!!

  3. Jonathan Richards 1

    Nostalgia trip

    >When it comes to paying for the groceries, [the app] has a feature to help people find the right bank notes to hand to a cashier.

    Ahh, I remember when you could reach into a wallet and pay for goods by handing over an intricately-fabricated slip of polymer material. Back in those days, the checkout operator would not recoil as if offered to have a fondle of Cleopatra's asp.

    In my supermarket, even the automated checkouts won't accept banknotes.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    Honest questions

    Why the hell does a company have first amendment rights?

    How the hell does collecting people's photos count as "free speech"?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Honest questions

      In the U.S., commercial speech is free speech, within the constraints that you can't make false statements about your product and you can restrict who companies like tobacco companies can speak to in order to protect vulnerable elements of society (i.e. kids)

      Its generally a good thing, because it keeps the government from picking which companies are allowed to promote their products and PoVs. Also, the commercial speech protections have been used to avoid government repression of certain product features. For example, during the governments iPhone-encryption cracking efforts a few years back, Apple argued somewhat successfully that the U.S. government was intruding on their corporate free speech by trying to force Apple to remain quiet on the effects of government efforts to make the encryption on the iPhone crackable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Honest questions

        Except that, I like many other people who live in the states, we realize that in fact companies commercial speech is constantly both blatantly false and deliberately misleading. There isn't enough funding to enforce the limited regulations on anything but the worst actors and often not even then. It provides a shield of protection to some of the worst and most predatory agents in our nation.

        All of this in the name of protecting us from the simple ability to regulate businesses. Often framed, as above, with some variant of a false argument that that is impossible for the government to regulate businesses competently, so we have to bar them (state, federal, municipal) from doing so. This in addition to the fact that bad actor businesses ignore the few restrictions placed on them with relative impunity.

        If selective prosecution is a problem(It is, at SO many level in the US government, FIX THAT. Don't pretend a company is the same as an individual actual person and then presume any regulation impinges that imaginary entities rights. Citing one case where someone argued the precedent in favor of government transparency is a poor example, as Apple could, should have, and did present a strong argument on other grounds. Whistleblower protection laws and strong protections individual privacy are much stronger ways to protect our collective rights, ones that don't foolishly depend on the outcome being in the interests of the executives at a corporation.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Honest questions

      > Why the hell does a company have first amendment rights?

      My understanding is because the company is a collection of people. Those people have first amendment rights.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Honest questions

        "Those people have first amendment rights."

        Those people may have rights, but in the workplace it comes with various implied limitations in accordance to the job/company.

        I think many schools in non-Republican areas might take a dim view of teachers wishing to exercise their 2nd amendment rights while at work.

        Likewise, whistle blowing is generally frowned upon, and no amount of claiming "rights" will keep you employed, and out of legal trouble, if you land your employer in the brown stuff by blabbing things they'd rather the public didn't know.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mimic David Attenborough’s world-famous plummy voice

    quite some time ago, in mid-1990s, I wondered if I live long enough to have software simulate my relatives, those already gone and those on the way out, based on those scraps of audio recordings and photos I have available. But then, I realized it would have been a short wow moment, and then sad realization it's cheap thrills, just talking to a machine, no matter how sophisticated.

    But I can see great opportunities in this field, say, a simulated conversation / how to present yourself during a real job interview (with a simulated consultant, lol). Also, if you're a fan of Adolf Hitler, I'm sure you'd love to have a motivational talk based on his speeches, etc, etc ;)

  6. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Happy

    AT LAST!!!!

    Now I can have David Attenborough narrate my hagiographic bio about what a "magnificent beast" I am!!

    "And now we see Marketing Hack is the master of his domain. Here, he reigns supreme, with the lesser animals deferentially fleeing from his might."

  7. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

    narration

    I wouldn't want to sully Attenborough's reputation by having my quite boring life narrated by even his simulated voice.

    Although I would bet his voice and abilities could make it sound way better!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: narration

      Morgan Freeman, surely.

      https://xkcd.com/462/

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