Machine learning is absolutely fascinating and yet I especially enjoy it when people use awesome technology to create weird skits and memes. This is exactly what everyone seems to be doing with an extremely impressive machine learning tool that lets you type text for different characters to say out loud. Want GLaDOS to read you bedtime stories? You can do it. Should the Scout of Team Fortress 2 recite classic Internet copypastas? Yes, you can do all of that, plus all the other creative things I know you’re going to cook up.
This is made possible by the 15.ai text-to-speech algorithm which studies character snippets and uses deep learning to make those characters say what you want. The possibilities are endless, and the amount of control you can use to alter the way words and sentences are pronounced is pretty deep if you’re willing to get down to business.
For now though, I just like to scroll through the silly skits people have done. So far, SpongeBob SquarePants and the various characters in Team Fortress 2 seem to be popular options. Here is this swarm of characters from TF2 arguing as if they were in a circle of us.
There are already quite a few game characters to choose from. In addition to the TF2 crew, you can also take a ride with the GLaDOS, Wheatley robots, and the Sentry turret from Portal. Oddly enough, Undertale characters are also available, but I didn’t think they – oh, that’s the joke. Gordon Freeman is there too. Keep on going. Try to make him talk.
Apparently, the creator has a lot more than expected. The upcoming character roster includes Fallout game stars like Three Dog and Yes Man, Halo’s Cortana, Ciri of The Witcher 3, and many more.
For the curious, the about 15.ai page has more information on how the algorithm works, including the model called “DeepMoji” which helps it convey emotions. It’s an extremely interesting thing, but listen, I’m a simple person and I really like to chuckle at the feuds of the characters in TF2.