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This AI app just brought Hollywood icons back from the dead to read you PDFs

The ElevenLabs Reader app with Judy Garland reading.

Barely a week after unveiling its new Reader App, which can narrate virtually any piece of written text users present to it, ElevenLabs has already released a significant update for the AI-powered program.

On Wednesday, the audio AI startup announced that it will offer users the option to have their words spoken by one of four classic Hollywood stars: Burt Reynolds, Judy Garland, James Dean, and Sir Laurence Olivier as part of its “Iconic Voices Collection.”

Now you may be asking yourself, “how do I know that these voices are accurate, given that I wasn’t even alive during the Carter administration?” Turns out, ElevenLabs collaborated closely with the deceased stars’ estates to ensure that their digital avatars sound just like the actors themselves once did.

Introducing ElevenLabs Iconic Voices.

Listen to your favorite books and articles voiced by Judy Garland, James Dean, Burt Reynolds and Sir Laurence Olivier on our Reader App.

The app is completely free to download and use. Get it here:

— ElevenLabs (@elevenlabsio) July 2, 2024

“It’s exciting to see our mother’s voice available to the countless millions of people who love her. Through the spectacular new technology offered by ElevenLabs, our family believes that this will bring new fans to Mama, and be exciting to those who already cherish the unparalleled legacy that Mama gave and continues to give to the world,” Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland, said in the announcement blog. The company suggests employing these voice avatars to narrate the classic literature they were famous for — Judy Garland reading The Wizard of Oz or Sir Olivier perform as Sherlock Holmes.

The four celebrities join a stable of more than a million user- and company-generated voices featured in the Reader App. With it, users can upload PDFs, copy and paste text, even link to URLs for the app to read back. The app is currently available on Apple devices exclusively, specifically anything running iOS and iPadOS 15 or later.

Its service is also restricted to the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. for now, though the company expects to expand to the EU market by July 11.

Andrew Tarantola
Andrew has spent more than a decade reporting on emerging technologies ranging from robotics and machine learning to space…
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