February 24, 2023

Polls: AI technology used to clone Atiku, Okowa’s voices – Expert

Atiku, Okowa

By John Alechenu, Abuja

A technology expert, Dr. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, has revealed that a cutting edge artificial intelligence app was used to clone the voices of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, in a voice note alleging a conspiracy by the duo to subvert Saturday’s election.

The viral voice recording, which purports to be Atiku Abubakar making comments about INEC, has been circulating on social media in Nigeria, causing a stir among the electorate barely 24 hours to the crucial polls.

Ekekwe, who is knowledgeable about the growing AI tech industry, analyzed the voice recording and pointed out irregularities that prove it is a fake, generated using sophisticated A.I. software that can mimic the sound and intonation of any human voice.

He and his colleagues who studied the noted  cited online services like www.respeecher.com and www.Resemble.ai which clone speeches  that are indistinguishable from the original speaker.

Ekwekwe, who is based in Lagos said, “Artificial intelligence is an incredible tool that has many useful applications, but it can also be used for nefarious purposes.

“In this case, someone has used A.I. to clone Atiku Abubakar’s voice and create a recording that never actually happened. We need to be vigilant and aware of these kinds of techniques, especially in the political sphere.

“I also hope the law enforcement authorities are getting more sophisticated inn their investigations to hold those propagating these sort of dangerous activities”

Dr. Ekekwe went on to explain that A.I. voice cloning technology has advanced rapidly in recent years, and it is now possible to create convincing fake recordings that are almost indistinguishable from real ones.

He, however, there are ways to detect fake recordings, such as analyzing the waveform and frequency of the voice, which can reveal anomalies that are characteristic of A.I. generated speech.

As the Nigerian Presidential election approaches its most crucial moments he cautioned that Nigerians should be more alert as there was the likelihood of a rise in the use of this technology for mischievous purposes.