Fake presidential turtle talk analysed by Latvian Television

Latvian Television's investigative show Forbidden Method (Aizliegtais Paņēmiens) came up with an unusual illustration of the much-discussed capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) October 23.

The broadcast featured a computer-generated discussion between Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs and American President Joe Biden. However, rather than important matters of state or trade links, the subject under discussion was the presidents' mutual appreciation of turtles.

Commenting on the performance of AI in simulating his voice and speech mannerisms, the real Rinkēvičs pointed out with a smile that artificial intelligence has certain limits, because the whole of Latvia knows that "I am a cat person, not a turtle person".

Rinkēvičs also pointed out that the simulation was not entirely convincing in terms of the two men's speech patterns. 

"There is still room for improvement, both in terms of intonation and actually in terms of things that, I would say, presidents would not say to each other in this way, no matter how friendly they are," Rinkēvičs commented on the exchange, which sees the presidents exchanging low-grade reptilian zingers.

The show also served up a warning that more sophisticated fake videos are a possibility in future political campaigning.

You can listen to AI's turtle tittle-tattle in the video above. For the record, neither president is a noted turtle-fancier and the conversation missed out one important give-away when such things are really discussed between Latvian and English speakers: are we talking about turtles or tortoises? Latvian uses the same word, bruņurupucis, for both.


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