You can now get AI Judy Garland or James Dean to read you the news


I love an account on X (formerly Twitter) called @LizaMinnelliOutlives (shockingly not run by the icon herself) that lists things like famous deaths or agreements. Well, in a twist, the real Liza Minnelli no longer outlives new words from her deceased mother, Judy Garland. The actress and singer has given ElevenLabs, an AI startup with cloning services, permission to recreate her mother’s voice for their new Reader App. Garland joins James Dean, Burt Reynolds and Sir Laurence Olivier as deceased stars whose AI voices are in the “Iconic voice collection,” thanks to deals with their estates for undisclosed sums.

The voices will exist solely on the Reader App and people can use them for things like narrating an e-book. “It’s exciting to see our mother’s voice available to the countless millions of people who love her,” Minnelli, the representative of the Garland Estate, said. “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.” A sample of Garland reading The Wizard of Oz appears in ElevenLab’s promotional video on YouTube — personally, I find it a little bit eerie, but I can see the appeal.

ElevenLabs released its Reader App in late June to allow users to hear any text on their phone, including messages, PDFs and news articles. It’s currently only available in English for iOS users in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. However, ElevenLabs has a waitlist for Android users and claims it will launch in the Google Play store in the “coming weeks.” The company also says it’s working on making the app available in every language its Multilingual model supports (29 as of now) and will, subsequently, launch it globally.

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