It’s a beautiful… robotic?
An AI-generated voice of Jimmy Stewart, the legendary Hollywood actor who died in 1997, reads a brand new bedtime story on the Calm sleep and meditation app.
The voice of Stewart, who starred in movies together with “It’s a Fantastic Life,” “Vertigo” and “Rear Window,” was recreated for the Calm story utilizing AI voice-cloning expertise. The venture has the consent of Stewart’s household and his property (managed by CMG Worldwide).
The AI-generated “It’s a Fantastic Sleep Story,” which Calm payments as “a heartwarming new vacation story,” premieres solely on the app Dec. 5. It will likely be accessible to subscribers of Calm Premium, which prices $69.99 per yr.
“Properly, howdy. I’m James Stewart. However, properly, you may name me Jimmy,” the AI-generated voice of Stewart says within the story’s intro. “Tonight, I’m going to inform you a narrative. It’s a heartwarming story of affection, of loss, of hope and of pleasure. However most of all, it’s a beautiful sleep story.” (Hearken to the clip under.)
Kelly Stewart Harcourt, one in all Stewart’s daughters, mentioned in an announcement, “We’re excited for our dad to be the voice of Calm’s newest Sleep Story. It’s superb what expertise can do and fantastic to see Dad’s legacy stay on this vacation season in new methods, like serving to individuals discover restful sleep and candy desires.”
Calm developed the Stewart bedtime story in collaboration with Respeecher, an AI voice-cloning startup whose credit embody recreating Mark Hamill’s voice of Luke Skywalker for “The Mandalorian” and James Earl Jones’ voice of Darth Vader for “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+. The story was written and produced by Calm’s editorial group.
“Jimmy Stewart’s calming voice is among the most iconic in film historical past, and we’re thrilled to see it delivered to the main leisure app available on the market,” mentioned Tina Xavie, chief advertising officer of CMG Worldwide. “Because of superior expertise, all of us get the enjoyment of listening to Jimmy’s distinctive voice once more.”
In recreating Stewart’s voice, Respeecher employed a voice actor who carried out the strains and mimicked his speech model. “It was important, like in all different initiatives, that the venture was executed in accordance with excessive moral requirements and respect, which Respeecher has advocated for a few years,” mentioned Alex Serdiuk, Respeecher CEO and co-founder. He added, “James Stewart is among the most outstanding actors in U.S. historical past. Recreating his voice with AI was each an enormous duty and an honor for Respeecher. It was a option to pay tribute to his unimaginable profession and all the nice recollections he left to individuals.”
Whereas the AI-generated Stewart bedtime studying has the blessing of his household and property, such recreations have generated backlash amongst those that see the initiatives as exploitative and inauthentic. Warner Music Group not too long ago introduced an animated biopic of French singer Edith Piaf that can use AI to create a facsimile of her voice and picture, leading to criticism on social media. The movie’s creators advised Selection that they’re striving to provide one thing that appears “very, very sensible” and that “we didn’t need her to look cartoonish.”
Calm has constructed a franchise round its Sleep Story sequence, with a number of tales on the app narrated by celebrities together with: Jennifer Garner, Shawn Mendes, Cynthia Erivo, Camila Cabello, Nick Offerman, Harry Types, Michael Bublé, Matthew McConaughey, LeBron James, Regé-Jean Web page, Laura Dern, Cillian Murphy, Idris Elba, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, LeVar Burton, Lucy Liu, Mandy Moore and Kate Winslet.
Hearken to the intro of “It’s a Fantastic Sleep Story”:
Pictured above: Jimmy Stewart, photographed in January 1966