Machine learning is absolutely fascinating and yet I mostly just enjoy when people use impressive tech to create weird skits and memes. That’s exactly what everyone appears to be doing with an extremely impressive machine-learning tool that lets you type in text for various characters to say out loud. Want GLaDOS to read you bedtime stories? You can do it. Should Team Fortress 2’s Scout recite classic internet copypastas? Yup, you can do all that plus all the many more creative things I know you lot will concoct.
It’s made possible by the text to speech algorithm 15.ai that studies clips of characters and uses deep-learning to make those characters say whatever the heck you want. The possibilities are endless and the amount of control that you can use to tweak how words and phrases are pronounced is pretty deep if you’re willing to get into the nitty gritty of it.
For now though, I’m just enjoying scrolling through the silly skits that folks have made. So far, SpongeBob SquarePants and the various characters of Team Fortress 2 seem to be popular options. Here’s this gaggle of TF2 characters arguing as if they’re in a round of Among Us.
There are already quite a few game characters to choose from. Aside from the TF2 crew, you can also take Portal’s robots GLaDOS, Wheatley, and the Sentry Turret for a spin. Oddly, Undertale characters are available too but I didn’t think that they—oh, that’s the joke. Gordon Freeman’s in there too. Go on. Try to make him talk.
Apparently the creator has a lot more than that planned. The list of upcoming characters includes Fallout game stars like Three Dog and Yes Man, Halo’s Cortana, Ciri of The Witcher 3 fame, and plenty more.
For the curious, 15.ai’s about page has more other information about how the algorithm works, including the model called “DeepMoji” that helps it to convey emotion. It’s extremely interesting stuff, but look, I’m a simple person and I just really like cackling over TF2 characters bickering.