Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Voice-cloning technology breathes new life into crucial Supreme Court moment | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV

Voice-Cloning Technology Brings Brown v. Board of Education Decision Back to Life

The historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, which struck down racial segregation in schools, is coming to life once again through an innovative voice-cloning technology. On the 70th anniversary of the landmark ruling, Chief Justice Earl Warren’s announcement and oral arguments from lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, can be heard on a website called brown.oyez.org.

Former Northwestern University professor Jerry Goldman painstakingly put together the website to allow people to listen to oral arguments in various Supreme Court cases and follow along with written transcriptions. The Brown decision, a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, marked the end of the “separate but equal” doctrine that institutionalized racial segregation in schools.

Despite the importance of these arguments, the Supreme Court did not begin recording them until 1955, a year after the Brown decision. Print transcripts, according to Goldman, don’t capture the essence of the spoken word like actual recordings do.

Through the use of artificial intelligence, recordings of key figures in the case were merged with the voices of actors reading historical transcripts. The result is a presentation that sounds like the participants are speaking anew, including Chief Justice Warren emphasizing the unanimous decision.

While the technology behind voice-cloning is impressive, there are concerns about its potential misuse to create false narratives or deepfakes. However, the creators of the “Brown Revisited” project maintain that they are not inventing new content but rather bringing historical words back to life.

As technology continues to advance, projects like this offer a new perspective on history, allowing us to engage with pivotal moments like the Brown decision in a more immersive way.

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