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Adobe looks to release Voco. Photoshop for your voice.

We’ve all become used to Photoshop and other software that alters and enhances digital images. Now the same sort of technology is being applied to our words with the potential release of Adobe’s Voco Photoshop for Voice. But is this really good news for your average London small business and the rest of the world?

What is it?

Essentially, the software takes an audio recording and adds in or changes it in a similar way to images. It can alter words and add them, and it can make them sound like the speaker on the original recording. Cue industry experts and IT support around the world raising their collective eyebrows.

How does it work?

Voice manipulation is nothing new. Ad agencies and film companies do it all the time when something is not quite right with their original recording. Up until now there hasn’t been a single, well defined software package that can do all that for you at the click of a button. In other words, one that the world and his friends can easily access and use.

The demo version of Voco was released recently and generated a good deal of interest as you might expect. As long as you have a certain amount of someone’s recorded voice, you can then use the software to get them to say absolutely anything.

Why is it an issue?

While image editing has long been accepted, the notion of manipulating audio in this way seems to have caused a good deal of consternation. There are undoubtedly security issues here. If you can alter voices and literally put words into a person’s mouth, where does that leave us? What does it mean for journalists and even lawyers who often depend on digital audio information to present their evidence? What about public speakers like politicians?

If you run a small business that uses voice ID checks, this kind of software could even compromise your system. Companies developing biometric systems have been waiting for this kind of development for a while now and are quick to advise that their products are not so easily tricked. But doubts still remain.

Adobe’s software is yet to be released onto the market and, one would hope, there will be safeguards put in place once it does. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the latest developments to ensure all our clients remain secure and can operate confidently and safely.