• Does AI Voice Pose a Threat to the Future?

    April 23, 2023

    By Garrett McGuirt

    (Credit: ArtemisDiana/Shutterstock)

    Audio Transcription:

    AI technology has been an amazing feat over the last few years. Here is a prominent example:

    (Credit: Sky News Australia)

    One initially might think that that was United States President, Joe Biden, giving one of his speeches. But that’s where they would be wrong. That statement from the president was nothing more than an AI deepfake. 

    Every day it seems as though the world has made yet another remarkable technological advancement or breakthrough. 

    The AI phenomenon has quickly risen to prominence throughout the last few years. And in 2023, it seems more prevalent than ever. It has been quite the feat to see people be able to select any prominent figure, and generate speech, and now even songs, in that person’s exact voice. 

    There are a few debates online as to when AI voice truly began. One could argue that AI voice recognition began back in the early 1900’s with a voice activated toy called, “Radio Rex,” that would come to you when its name was called.

    Others would say it truly began in 1952 when Bell Labs created “Audrey,” a machine that could acknowledge numbers from 1 to 9. Or it could be said that IBM truly pioneered AI in 1961 with “Shoebox.” Shoebox was a voice recognition technology that was able to recognize up to 16 words and 9 numbers, respectively.

    Whichever you may think is the first true voice recognition technology, it is hard to imagine that the creators of these technologies could have ever foreseen what would become of voice recognition. 

    Take VoxBox for example, a completely free to use AI voice generator. Let’s say I wanted to have a special message from former President Donald Trump, but I don’t have the connections or resources to do so. All I have to do is use VoxBox to relay this message. Listen to this voice generation I made for Free on VoxBox. 

    And there you have it, former President Donald Trump shouting me out, free of charge. This may seem like a fun and harmless thing to do. On a smaller scope, yes. But when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture here, things can become scary.

    Nearly anyone in the world can have access to this technology for no cost whatsoever. Think about that for a moment. Anyone in the world can make a world leader say whatever they want.

    What can this mean for national and even global relations? I have seen it many times, especially on Twitter, these AI generated speeches and videos that will show the current President, Joe Biden, saying something off color that can shine a negative light on him and even the country.

    In an era where so much information is floating on the internet, it is hard to fact check it all. And even if things are able to be fact checked, the general public hardly ever does.

    An issue that partners with this is that people’s attention spans have dwindled so much in this current climate of the internet that people will often see something once, true or not, and form their opinions and move on not knowing whether or not something they have just seen holds any truth at all. 

    So that poses the question. What threat does AI voice generation pose for the future?

    Certainly there are speculations that can be made when it comes to the overall safeness of AI. As for the Biden administration it currently remains unknown of their full stance on the matter at hand. “It remains to be seen. Could be.”

    That is what President Biden said earlier this month when he sat down with his science and tech advisers to discuss what this AI could mean for the future. 

    While Biden didn’t outright dismiss AI technology, he did state his concerns of its impact. Biden said to the group “AI can help deal with some very difficult challenges like disease and climate change, but it also has to address the potential risks to our society, to our economy, to our national security.” 

    When looking into AI as a whole there are positives that come out of it. AI technology provides many affordances for productivity. One of the most glaring benefits is the reduction of human error.

    Because AI is a constant stream of data and information, it allows for more efficient and accurate work that would otherwise take much longer for the average person.

    Another benefit of AI is its automation factor. AI is capable of always running 24/7, that means a constant streamline of information and work that is able to be done. This is one of the reasons why some jobs are being replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

    Another positive aspect of AI falls in line with what we are talking about today. The ability to replicate and create unique art, music, and voice patterns that seem as if they were done by humans, or it is the actual human themselves. The positive here is that interesting content can be created seamlessly with little to no difference from its real life counterpart. 

    That seamlessness is good when done with the right intentions. Some might say AI doesn’t need to be regulated or restricted when its powers reach far and wide. Even so, it can quickly turn into something that is far more worrisome. 

    So what can be done to regulate AI to make sure AI generated work is done morally and ethically right?

    For starters there should be a basic set of guidelines and rules when using Artificial Intelligence. With anyone having the ability to access this technology, it needs to have a code of ethics to ensure that AI is used productively and safely.

    When it comes to the social media side of AI, that is the sharing of AI content, more must be done to flag content as Artificially generated. On twitter anyone has the power to upload clips at their leisure. Social media companies should look to implement a content management system that can detect content as being AI generated.

    This system could be similar to YouTube’s copyright check during the process of uploading a video. Before a video can even be uploaded, YouTube thoroughly scans the file to detect any copyrighted audio that is not fair use. This could be done with photos and videos uploaded to social media to make certain that content is not altered.

    It is worth nothing that twitter does have a fact checking policy in place, but this only appears under the tweet itself. What I am proposing here is a system that would place a notice on the post before it is viewed so those who see it are aware before watching that it is in fact AI. 

    AI can be comedic and lighthearted when using it to mimic politicians, for example, but with the political landscape on the internet so hot right now, it is important that people know what is real and what is not.

    This is most important for those who aren’t as media literate. The older generation might not be aware of this technology, and with many in that generation being so passionate about politics, they need to be aware that they might be seeing something that could potentially influence their opinions. 

    Overall, AI certainly has benefits that can steer the world in a more efficient direction. But we as a world need to come together to make sure that it is being used right.

    If AI can be used safely and securely, it can absolutely help the world. When it comes to world leaders in particular having their speech and likeness mimicked by AI, that’s where a majority of focus should lie. Not everyone is aware of this AI technology, so it needs to be apparent that the use of AI is involved in situations such as that.

    This AI technology is so new that I’m not sure if anyone truly knows where it will go. But it is something that I’m sure everyone will be paying attention to. What do you think about AI technology? Where do you think it is headed? Will it be possible to regulate it?











  • Garrett McGuirt Portfolio

    Journalism Stories/Review:

    Mainstream Sellout Album Review: https://docs.google.com/document/d/144vGk_h9F9JRdssiGnxzhX23WX61xXrbWV-Zhn6WguQ/edit?usp=sharing

    The Bill Cook Profile Story: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iMG9ceCdmcyNOlMNqzd9MYr5PLtCplHEe5fq4bvFoEc/edit?usp=sharing

    How the COVID-19 Pandemic affected teachers: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CDQU-KKEtbIpPwSQz51RGQzss5w7Js7MQj2pXIyhhmY/edit?usp=sharing

    Audio Stories:

    The GVSU Lampoon:

    The Barred Window:

    Podcast: https://linktr.ee/tonedeafpodcast https://linktr.ee/onceuponathoughtpodcast



    SPM 280 Video
    CMJ 284 Package
    CMJ 284 Package
  • Is the Influence of Teen Dramas Like “Euphoria” Harmful?

    Written By: Garrett McGuirt

    With the rise of streaming services in the past few years, many shows have risen to prominence. Some of the biggest of these shows include those based around the lives of young people known as “teen dramas.” A majority of these teen dramas portray young people in unrealistic ways. Oftentimes, the actors cast in these productions are extremely good-looking and likable. This can become an issue because a lot of these likable actors are playing characters that live negative lifestyles, whether that is doing drugs, having an excess amount of sex, or committing crimes. The affordances of streaming services allow for these shows to be watched by anyone at any time. 

    On demand streaming services provide the opportunity for instant viewing of a vast number of television shows and movies. The teen drama genre has proven to be a massive hit across these streaming platforms. One of the most notable and popular of these shows is HBO Max’s “Euphoria.” Euphoria quickly established dominance amongst streaming when it debuted in 2019. Led by the actress, Zendaya, “Euphoria” quickly became the streaming service’s most watched show of all time. Releasing on an episode-weekly basis, the smash-hit show averaged 6.6 million views per episode in its first season, and an average of 13.1 million viewers per episode in its second season. 

    The show is mainly targeted towards the 18-34 year old demographic. However with streaming services lacking strong parental controls, people even younger have easy access to this vulgar programming. While the show does address the harm brought on by drug abuse, it frequently will romanticize the drug-filled experiences of the character. During a drug-filled haze while everything is bright and glittery, the main character Rue utters “I know you’re not allowed to say it, but drugs are kinda cool.”

    (All Rights Reserved to HBO.)

    When “Euphoria” does scenes with drugs, they show the highest of highs and fill the scene with blissful lights and relaxing music to simulate the rush you get from doing drugs. While addressing the highs and lows is a great topic to handle, “Euphoria” is showing these feelings through the eyes of kids that are portrayed to be around 16 years old. A young person viewing this could see a person their age on cloud nine off of drugs and wonder to themselves if they too could reach that same feeling. Someone could see this and disregard the lows because the high looks so glamorous. 

    (All Rights Reserved to HBO.)

    The producers who make these shows surely don’t intend on influencing young people to do drugs and start drinking. However, it is hard not to wonder if these studios have become so accustomed to using 30-year-old actors playing high school students, that they forget who the characters are truly supposed to be and the influence they might have. 

    Award-winning filmmaker and producer, Rob Byrd, voiced his opinion on the presentation of drug and sex addictions in shows that portray teenagers:

    It is troubling that behavior like this in young people is dramatized and romanticized in such a way, especially when anyone can turn on their Smart TV and begin watching. While it can reflect poorly on the filmmakers for portraying their characters in such a way, does the responsibility fall solely on them? Rob Byrd delves into the topic of censorship and if this type of content should be removed by producers.

    Thus posing another question: is it the fault of parents whose children become influenced by these shows due to lack of prevention over what they watch? We spoke to some students that have siblings currently in high school and found the following: out of 10 high school students (5 males and 5 females) 7 students had seen “Euphoria” and the other 3 had heard of it. When asking the students if their parents knew they watched the show we found that of the 7 students, only 2 of the students’ parents knew about them watching the show. The other 5 students either didn’t tell their parents they had seen the show, or went around parental controls to access the content.

    Outside of streaming services, the show has been massively shared on social media. The most predominant site the show has trended on has been TikTok, which only requires you to be twelve to make an account. So even if parents do all they can to prevent their children from watching the show on streaming, they can still easily see it through clips shared online. The #Euphoria has had 55.1 billion views alone.

    The massive sharing of these videos has led to the characters being sexualized even more on the internet. In particular the main male character Nate, a male manipulator and abuser, has been fantasied over online regardless of his actions.

    (All Rights Reserved to HBO.)

    The actor who plays Nate, Jacob Elordi, has come out to express his displeasure with fan that are attracted to his character:

    If the actors in the show don’t like the characters they play, why do other people? Rob Byrd addresses the attractiveness of the actors that are cast into these roles and how that draws people in:

    With so many factors that go into the television spectacle that is “Euphoria,” it is hard to wonder what can be done to prevent those that don’t need to watch the show from seeing it. It is also uncertain the true harm that has been done to the young people who have seen the show.

    What is apparent is that the reach of the show has been enormous, undoubtedly so, and that has not gone unnoticed. With the largest viewing numbers in HBO’s history and one of the most trending topics online, HBO will continue to build off the success of their hit show. “Euphoria” has been renewed for a third season, which will premiere sometime in 2023. The show will be under a microscope to see if they change the presentation of the characters amid criticisms.

  • Hello World!

    Welcome to WordPress! This is your first post. Edit or delete it to take the first step in your blogging journey.

  • GVSU Is An Instagram Powerhouse In Michigan

    Grand Valley State students support their football team

    Grand Valley State University may not be the largest university in Michigan in terms of enrollment, but it sure is when it comes to social media presence.

    School pride is something that the GVSU Lakers do not take lightly. The students have done their part to make their school the most instagrammed school in the state of Michigan.

    In 2019, AT&T released a report that revealed that Grand Valley State University had become the most hash-tagged school in Michigan. The Division-2 university beat out larger Division-1 schools like Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

    AT&T’s Most Instagrammed Colleges

    With other schools in the state having much larger enrollment, it is reasonable to wonder how GVSU managed to top the Instagram hashtag rankings across their home state.

    GVSU student Ayron Rutan stated, “I think the atmosphere makes GV a very photogenic place.” Rutan described some of the environment, “We have lots of surrounding nature that weaves in and out of campus. And I can’t forget to mention the beautiful architecture that makes up the buildings on campus.”

    GVSU’s Allendale Campus

    Another GVSU Student, Bobby Novak shared similar feelings, “I think our little landmarks are things that attract great photos. While the Little Mac Bridge and other landmarks are picture worthy, the beautiful fall weather in West Michigan also plays a major factor. Aside from the environment, we also have many inclusive events that draw thousands of students that share their enjoyment.”

    Students at Grand Valley State University seem to have a deep connection with the area that they attend school in. To these students, the institution is more than just a school. Some of these students interpret their campus as a mode of expression.

    GVSU Students at Student Life Night

    Not only do current Grand Valley State students have admiration for their campus, former students do as well. Former GVSU student Jacob Nerio stated, “I can definitely see why GVSU would be the most hash-tagged university in Michigan. During my time at Grand Valley, my friends and I would hang around the art centers to admire the art and sculptures and to take pictures.”

    While some people can be considered photogenic, the students at Grand Valley State University view their campus as being photogenic. The Lakers’ use of social media on their campus has propelled them to being the most posted about University in their state. With the GVSU football team’s season just now starting, the students’ school spirit will not be expected to stop soon.