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New Apple feature could help those losing voice

Losing your voice is an unfortunate reality for many — from cancer to injuries to ALS — a new Apple feature could help those dealing with the tragic loss.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Losing your voice is an unfortunate reality for many of Hannah Petersen's patients. From cancer and injuries to ALS, many things can cause it.

"We do a lot of voice and cognition rehab as well," said Peterson, a speech pathologist at UAMS. "The loss of communication is something that impacts those people in these populations pretty significantly."

Saving your voice is possible, but it takes time.

"There are two different ways to do that," Petersen said. "One would be voice banking, and the other would be message banking."

Those involve repeating messages or phrases so your voice can be uploaded and used. Petersen said it can take thousands of attempts to obtain your digital voice.

"If you miss that window of opportunity, and your voice starts to decline," Peterson said. "Then you might not get that exact voice that you really want in the recordings."

What if there was an easier way?

Person Voice, a new feature from Apple, can help by allowing users to record approximately 150 lines, taking around 15 minutes to complete.

Artificial intelligence can fill out the rest, creating a fully digital voice.

It's huge for accessibility, but there are concerns as well.

"We have to be able to separate reality," UALR cybersecurity professor Philip Huff said. "The AI from reality, that can be difficult."

A major concern for Huff is fraud. He said there are some concerns Person Voice can lead to an increase in scams.

"I think all of our lives are improved," Huff said. "We also have to recognize the dangers that come when you can no longer distinguish the digital fake from reality."

Back at UAMS, Petersen is also thinking about this. She said she plans on warning her patients of the risk before making any recommendation

"I believe it's a tool that works and we should use it," Peterson said. "The capabilities of AI are coming out now, and I think it's going to be helpful in a lot of different ways."

Apple is expecting to roll out Person Voice later this year.

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