- A programmer has created an AI version of David Attenborough to narrate his life.
- It’s eerily good at nailing not only Attenborough’s voice, but also his narration style.
- AI clones aren’t just a fantasy from that Black Mirror episode with Salma Hayek — they’re the real deal.
If you’ve ever wanted acclaimed broadcaster and documentary filmmaker Sir David Attenborough to narrate your life, you’re not alone — and you don’t have to keep merely wishing for it anymore. A programmer named Charlie Holtz has turned that wish into reality with AI.
In a demo video Holtz shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Attenborough’s voice can be heard describing Holtz as if he were a character in a film.
“Here we have a remarkable specimen of Homo Sapiens, distinguished by his silver circular spectacles and a mane of tousled curly locks,” says Attenborough. Of course, this isn’t really Attenborough — it’s AI-Attenborough.
David Attenborough is now narrating my life
Here’s a GPT-4-vision + @elevenlabsio python script so you can star in your own Planet Earth: pic.twitter.com/desTwTM7RS
— Charlie Holtz (@charliebholtz) November 15, 2023
The narration appears to be unscripted, autonomous, and surprisingly realistic at capturing not only the documentarian’s trademark voice, but also his distinctive style of speech.
“He’s wearing what appears to be a blue fabric covering, which can only be assumed to be part of its mating display,” AI-Attenborough adds.
This short demo shows that AI clones aren’t just a fantasy from that Black Mirror episode with Salma Hayek and Annie Murphy — they’re the real deal.
Holtz is a “hacker in residence” at Replicate, a machine-learning startup. He’s been posting quirky experiments with AI on X — like one that uses AI to recommend how you should correct your posture.
This latest experiment, shared on Wednesday, has amassed over 1 million views. And it’s made possible by combining OpenAI’s GPT-4-vision — an AI model that can describe what it sees — and code from Elevens Lab, an AI voice startup.
I’m not sure what Attenborough thinks of his AI clone — he didn’t respond to Business Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours — but reading the reaction from X users makes it clear why Hollywood actors are afraid of AI.
One X user wrote, “I’m going to get David Attenborough to narrate videos of my baby learning how to eat broccoli.”
The Screen Actors Guild board approved a deal with studios to conclude the actors’ strike, but AI remains an ongoing topic of concern in the industry.
On Saturday, Justine Bateman, the AI advisor to the union’s negotiating committee, criticized the agreement for not doing enough to protect actors against the creation of their “digital doubles” and replacement by “synthetic performers.”
“You will now compete with every actor, dead or alive, who has made their “digital double” available for rent,” Bateman wrote on X.
It reads like a prescient warning, especially now that Holtz has made the code behind his AI available online for others to use as they please.
Holtz did not immediately respond to BI’s request for comment, sent outside regular business hours.