[Attention! Hanyangians] Alumnus Kim Tae-soo Creates an AI Voice with Emotion with the AI Voice Service "Typecast"
Department of Electronic Engineering, Class of ’97… established in November 2017 at the age of forty
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What would you say if you could meet your family in heaven? The reproduction of a dead daughter’s voice in the "Special VR Human Documentary" broadcasted by MBC last February has sparked a very big issue. It wasn’t the real daughter talking but instead, a voice made by the voice AI startup Neosapience.
Alumnus Kim Tae-soo graduated from Hanyang University's Department of Electronic Engineering, received a doctorate at KAIST majoring in voice recognition, worked at LG Electronics and QUALCOMM Korea, and established Neosapiens in November of 2017. Their main product is Typecast, which is a voice service created by AI. Typecast is adapted with a deep-learning technology that Neosapiens developed and is now an AI voice actor service that provides 60 different voices. In particular, Neosapiens has put human emotions into the voices, and these characters are called voice actors. They have been showing rapid growth since February of 2019 when the Beta Service was launched, and they reached 50,000 members this July. Mr. Kim said that “there were voice compositing technologies before, but controlling diverse vocalizations was difficult,” and that “we’ve created a technology that can recognize the surrounding situation and conversation content, and control emotions, which are applied to Typecast to control the timing of reading, pauses, and even rhythms.”
They’ve also developed a technology that can synthesize many languages in the same voice. For instance, it is possible to create a video of President Donald Trump speaking in Korean. Actually, the Neosapiens gained popularity by copying the voices of the United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the historic first United States - North Korea summit in June 2018 with an AI voice actor.
The voice actors' voices are mostly from professional voice actors. Each character not only provides voices but also acts with emotions. For example, it is helpful for reading books or producing effective commercials. The Typecast service has a monthly subscription fee. The fees are different according to the places used and the users. There are 4 types of imposed fees, including a free service. The free service usage limits the word count to under 3,000, and the three paid programs involve basic (15,000), pro (45,000), and pro-plus (99,000) packages.
Neosapiens received an accumulated investment of 6.2 billion won early this year by a series A investment from Company K Partners and Woori Capital. They gained attention by introducing a voice actor service that applies an AI voice composition technology at the last CES 2020 and were even selected as the IT·Untact field innovation company at the Seoul CAC Global Summit 2020 in June.
Mr. Kim said in an interview with ZDNet Korea on August 19 that “we will introduce an AI voice that will surprise you all,” and that “We’ve surpassed last year’s sales in the first quarter of this year. Therefore, we are expecting a billion won in sales just through subscription alone this year”. Additionally, he shared his aspirations by saying, “The AI we created is a virtual actor. We cannot use the content if the acting is bad. That’s why it is an AI voice actor. It is a new kind of business change. There will appear global players in this field in the next 5 to 10 years.”
Global News Team
Translation by: Park Gyeong-min
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