“Project L”: Bang Si Hyuk Teases HYBE’s Top-Secret AI Voice Cloning Project
As the world of music continues to evolve, we’re seeing more and more crossovers between technology and artistry. The latest groundbreaking development everyone’s anticipating? AI. In a recent interview with Billboard, HYBE‘s chairman Bang Si Hyuk revealed his plans to venture into the realm of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and how it could shape K-Pop as we know it.
With the rise of popular AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, it’s no surprise that the K-Pop world is also embracing this cutting-edge technology. Aespa has captured fans’ excitement with its virtual “ae” members concept, while fully computer-generated groups like MAVE and PLAVE are taking things one step further. With the lines between real and virtual becoming increasingly blurred, HYBE is looking to get in on the trend too.
When asked about HYBE’s AI strategy, Bang revealed that the company has recently acquired Supertone, a voice-cloning technology. While speech-based AI tools have been in development for years, Supertone goes beyond just matching tone and intonation. The tech can even replicate a person’s character and language, offering endless possibilities for creative expression.
We were able to acquire a company, Supertone, that can clone voice completely. Not just tone, but also intonation. So for example, we can record your voice and then put or apply Angelina Jolie’s intonation or her speech and make it into a completely different voice. And this technology can also replicate the character of a person, in any language.
— Bang Si Hyuk
This information makes an important question come up, will this be used to clone HYBE artist voices? While there’s still no concrete word on how Supertone will be used, Bang did share that the company is currently working on a top-secret project with newly-acquired Supertone. Code-named “Project L”, the project is set to be unveiled soon, in May, but details remain scarce.
Currently we’re running some small-scale projects with this company, and one of them is scheduled to be published and rolled out in May. Inside our company we call it Project L.
— Bang Si Hyuk
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and many fans are worried about how technologies like this could impact artists, their lives, and their craft.
Bang acknowledged concerns over the potential misuse of AI voice cloning technology, particularly with regard to imitating the voices of beloved K-Pop artists like BTS. He went on to say that he is committed to ethical AI development and believes that regulations should be imminent. Bang even cited the recent Writers Guild of America document addressing AI scriptwriting as an example of how industries can adapt to the changing landscape.
I believe regulations and institutions must be put in place, and social consensus [around AI] should be made as soon as possible. Recently, Hollywood’s Writers Guild of America drafted a document to handle AI writing scripts. Rather than keeping AI from writing scripts or not using AI, I believe it is more appropriate to respond to such change in society.
— Bang Si Hyuk
So, what does this all mean for the future of K-Pop? It’s clear that HYBE and other K-Pop companies are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. With the integration of AI and metaverse concepts in the industry, fans can likely expect more immersive experiences and brand-new ways of consuming content. But, as the world of entertainment continues to evolve, it’s crucial for the industry to embrace these changes responsibly.