If you’re someone who is always on the go and finds it difficult to take phone calls, Samsung has a solution for you. Samsung wants to do something about that by letting you create a replica of your voice using artificial intelligence.
The feature is only available in Korean and is part of Samsung’s Bixby Text Call service, which lets you answer a call by typing a text message instead. The announcement comes after Google used Google Assistant to automate parts of the calling experience. It also comes amid a surge in interest in AI-generated content, thanks to the rise of ChatGPT.
To be clear, Samsung’s new feature isn’t an AI clone that answers calls entirely on your behalf. Instead, Bixby Text Call lets you type a text message to answer a phone call at times when it might not be appropriate to do so verbally. Bixby then converts the text you type into audio for the recipient.
This feature was announced last year as part of Samsung’s One UI 5 update. Now Samsung is launching Bixby Custom Voice Creator, which allows users to record phrases that Samsung’s Bixby assistant can analyze to create an AI-generated copy of their voice and pitch. Samsung is positioning it as a means to customize how Bixby Text Call converts texts to audio during a call. Bixby Text Call is now also available in English, although the voice reply tool is only available in Korean.
Samsung said when announcing Bixby Text Call last year that recipients would hear an automated message letting them know the call would be answered through Bixby. However, Samsung’s press release does not mention whether this also applies to phone calls answered by custom voices created through Bixby Custom Voice Creator. It’s also unclear what safeguards Samsung has in place to prevent the creation of an AI-generated voice copy by recording a person’s voice rather than the actual user.
Samsung said last year that Bixby’s text-to-speech transcription process happens on the device itself, not in the cloud. The audio is also deleted soon after the recognition process, according to the company.
Samsung said in Wednesday’s press release that this AI-generated rumor will eventually be compatible with “Samsung apps other than phone calls,” though it didn’t say which ones.
Samsung is expanding Bixby’s capabilities after Google rolled out a number of features designed to make calling on the phone easier in recent years. For example, the company’s Direct My Call tool uses Google Assistant to transcribe the phone’s automatic menus. Google recently updated this feature with the launch of the Pixel 7 last year.
At the same time, there has been growing interest in how AI-generated content can be used in everyday activities, due to the popularity of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s online chatbot launched in late 2022. Microsoft has recently incorporated the technology behind ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, which is currently in limited preview, to provide more conversational results. Google also announced their own ChatGPT rival called Bard.