Their children were shot, so they used AI to recreate their voices and call lawmakers

The parents of a teenager killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting have launched a bold new project called The Shotline to lobby for stricter gun laws across the country. Shotline uses artificial intelligence to recreate the voices of children killed by gun violence and send notes via automated calls to lawmakers. The Wall Street Journal informed.

Project has been activated Wednesday, six years after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded dozens more at a high school in Parkland, Florida. It features the voices of six children, some as young as ten, and young adults who have lost their lives to gun violence in the United States. Once you enter your ZIP code, The Shotline finds your local representative and lets you call for stronger gun control laws by placing an automated call with the voice of one in six dead people. “I came back today because my parents used AI to recreate my voice to call you,” says the AI-generated voice of Joaquin Oliver, one of the teenagers killed in the Parkland shooting. “Other victims like me will call.” At the time of publication, more than 8,000 AI subpoenas had been sent to lawmakers through the website.

“It’s a United States problem and we haven’t been able to solve it,” said Oliver’s father, Manuel, who started the project with his wife, Patricia. Journal. “If we have to use creepy stuff to fix it, welcome to creepy.”

To recreate the voices, the Olivers used voice cloning service ElevenLabs, a two-year-old startup that recently raised $80 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Using just a few minutes of vocal samples, the software is capable of recreating sounds in more than two dozen languages. The Olivers reportedly used their son’s social media posts for voice samples. Parents and legal guardians of gun violence victims can fill out a form to submit their voices to The Shotline to add to the pool of AI-generated voices.

The project raises ethical questions about using artificial intelligence to create deep spoofs of dead people’s voices. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced Robocalls made using AI-generated voices are illegal, a ruling in New Hampshire came weeks after voters in New Hampshire received calls that sounded like President Joe Biden, telling them not to vote in their state’s primary. Analysis of a security company called Pindrop revealed Biden’s audio deepfake was created using ElevenLabs software.

Co-founder of the company Mati Stanishevski informed about this Journal ElevenLabs allows people to recreate the voices of their deceased relatives if they have the rights and permissions. However, it is not yet clear whether the parents of minors have the right to resemble their children.

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