Can't answer the phone? Samsung wants to help by letting you create a replica of your voice using artificial intelligence.
The feature is only available in Korean and is part of Samsung's Bixby Text Call service, which lets you answer a call by typing a text message instead. Samsung plans to release the voice creator tool in English later this year, a Samsung spokesperson said to CNET via email. The announcement comes after Google has used the Google Assistant to automate certain parts of the phone-calling experience. It also arrives amid a surge in interest in AI-generated content, thanks to the rise of ChatGPT.
To be clear, Samsung's new feature is not an AI clone that answers calls entirely on your behalf. Instead, Bixby Text Call lets you type a text message to answer a phone call at times when it may not be appropriate to do so verbally. Bixby then converts your typed text to audio for the recipient.
That feature was announced last year as part of Samsung's One UI 5 update and just became available in English after debuting in Korean. Now Samsung is launching the Bixby Custom Voice Creator for the Galaxy S23 lineup to let users record sentences that the Bixby assistant can analyze to copy their voice and tone. Samsung is positioning this as a means to customize the way Bixby Text Call converts text into audio during a call.
When the Bixby Custom Voice Creator's AI-generated voice answers a phone call, it will let the caller know that Bixby is answering the call rather than the user, Samsung said. When asked whether Samsung has safeguards in place to prevent someone else from creating a copy of your voice through a recording, Samsung said users will need to read specific sentences to generate the custom voice.
Bixby's text-to-speech transcription process takes place on the device itself rather than in the cloud, Samsung said when announcing Bixby Text Call last year. Audio is also deleted right after the recognition process takes place, according to the company.
Samsung said in Wednesday's press release that this AI-generated voice will eventually be compatible with "other Samsung apps beyond phone calls," although it didn't say which ones. When pressed for specifics, Samsung said more details will be announced in the future.
Samsung is broadening Bixby's functionality after Google in recent years rolled out a suite of features designed to make the phone calling experience more convenient. Its Direct My Call tool, for example, uses the Google Assistant to transcribe automated phone menus. Google updated this feature with the launch of the Pixel 7 last year.
At the same time, there's been a deeper interest in how AI-generated content can be used in everyday tasks, resulting from the popularity of ChatGPT, the online chatbot from OpenAI that launched in late 2022. Microsoft recently incorporated the technology behind ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, which is currently available in a limited preview, to provide more conversational results. Google also announced its own ChatGPT rival called Bard.
Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and fact-checked by our editors. For more, see this post.