May 16, 2019 - Technology

Joe Rogan finds his synthetic voice

Photo of a man speaking into a microphone

Comedian Joe Rogan has said all sorts of things on his popular, freewheeling podcast. But he probably hasn't said this: "Now that we have deepfakes and fake voices, I'm starting to believe that we're not far off from simulations after all."

What's happening: You can now hear him intone those words in his distinctive Rogan way right here.

Details: Researchers at Dessa, an AI company, say they have synthesized Rogan's voice. They claim to be able to type out any phrase and have him speak aloud.

  • This capability isn't new — we reported last month on audio deepfakes, AI-generated clips of people saying things they never said, and the defenders searching for ways to detect them.
  • What is new is the quality of this fake voice. We highlighted a synthetic Ellen DeGeneres clip last month that had her trademark lilt but still sounds very robotic. This one sounds nearly true to life.
  • See if you can tell the difference: Which of these clips are real and which are made up?

But, but, but: Dessa hasn't published any technical details about how it made the voice — it promises a follow-up in the coming days. We'll be speaking with Dessa to learn more, too.

Go deeper