After a while, people are always bringing up this subject ? when will voice be available in Second Life, and how it will split the community in two halves, the ones that will use it, and the ones that won’t/can’t.

The discussion is old and on the same day I have engaged in it twice; so I better use the basis of my own thoughts on a single place, and refer people to this article. I’m getting more lazy with age and lack of sleep…

Enjoy 🙂

As to the lovely gadgets and toys for ‘morphing’ voice (not really important for the educator community here, but since they’re being mentioned…), as well as text-to-speech and speech-to-text, well, they’re gadgets really. I’d like to compare them to SL thinking about the 1980s isometric-type of games, on 320×240 screens with 16 colours. Sure, with enough imagination, you got an ‘illusion’ of 3D, but it was simply way beyond what we can do with avatars with dozens of thousands of polygons today, rendered at 40-50 fps on a fast machine in SL. Voice Morphing software has improved dramatically in the past few years, but it’s a “toy” ? you can mask your voice, but it won’t get rid of your accent. For the Windows fans around there, I’d recommend taking a look at what companies like http://www.audio4fun.com/ are doing. Although I use a Mac exclusively, and they only do Windows versions of it (yes, I’ve tried to actively convince them to do Macintosh ports) I’ve bought one of their tools once to see the results, and are a somewhat lazy beta tester of their latest technologies. I managed to have some fun sounding a bit like Cindy Crawford or Humphrey Bogart with a toe-curling bad accent; lots of fun to be gathered that way, and the delay due to voice processing & morphing is acceptable (a second or so) for game role-playing. Still, this technology needs some years of development; it’s simply at the “cute toy” level. People will *always* know your voice is being masked; they might only get a bit confused as to your identity. So you’re able to successfully mask that, but a Russian woman of 50 won’t “pass” for a Valley Girl of 17 using this tool … or for an Orc, for that matter.

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