Generative AI wars ramp up as Open AI launches new voice tech


Microsoft-backed Open AI – the company behind generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) tool ChatGPT – has rolled out a slew of new voice and image capabilities on its flagship platform.
Image: Getty

In a blog post, Open AI revealed that, over the next two weeks, it would be rolling out voice and image tech to allow its Plus and Enterprise users to engage in new kinds of conversations with ChatGPT.

The new tech would be available on both iOS and Android, and premium users could opt into voice conversations via their settings. (Subscriptions to ChatGPT Plus are currently US$20 -a-month).

“The new voice capability is powered by a new text-to-speech model, capable of generating human-like audio from just text and a few seconds of sample speech,” the blog post stated. “We collaborated with professional voice actors to create each of the voices. We also use Whisper, our open-source speech recognition system, to transcribe your spoken words into text.”

OpenAI also revealed its premium users could show ChatGPT images, like photographs, screenshots or documents, and ask it to analyse them: “Troubleshoot why your grill won’t start, explore the contents of your fridge to plan a meal, or analyse a complex graph for work-related data.”

The company recognised the new technology presented new risks, like the potential for impersonation or to commit fraud, but says ChatGPT’s voice tech will only use voice actors it works with directly.


Generative AI competition heats up

The move comes as Amazon reveals its plans to invest up to US$4 billion into AI startup Anthropic. The hope is that Anthropic can aid Amazon’s development of its custom AI chips – an area that chip maker Nvidia is currently dominating.

Anthropic is seen as a key rival to Microsoft’s OpenAI, which was last valued at about US$5 billion, after its most recent funding round in May.

Google has already invested about US$300 million into Anthropic, and revealed the companies were working together to co-develop AI computing systems. Google has also invested into OpenAI, and operates its own Gen AI tool, Bard.  

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here or become a member here.

More from Forbes Australia