Parents Use AI to Recreate Voices of Children Killed in Shooting, Advocating for Change with Lawmakers

Joseph Adebayo

Parkland Parents Use AI To Lobby for Gun Control

In an effort to advocate for stricter gun laws, the parents of a teenager killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting have introduced an innovative project known as The Shotline. This initiative leverages artificial intelligence to replicate the voices of children who have died from gun violence and then uses these recordings to place automated calls to lawmakers. This project was launched six years after a gunman devastated Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring multiple others. The recordings feature the voices of six children and young adults who lost their lives due to gun violence across the United States. Users can input their zip code on The Shotline website to connect with their local representative and place an automated call from one of these individuals, urging for more stringent gun control laws.

As the AI-generated voice of Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the Parkland shooting, states, “My parents used AI to recreate my voice to call you. Other victims like me will be calling too.” According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 8,000 AI calls have been submitted to lawmakers through The Shotline.

Manuel Oliver, Joaquin’s father, shared with the Journal that this issue is a national one that has yet to be resolved. He expressed a willingness to use unconventional methods if necessary. The Olivers partnered with ElevenLabs, a startup that recently secured $80 million in funding, to create these voice clones. With just a few minutes of vocal samples, their software is capable of replicating voices in over 24 languages. To gather more voices, parents and legal guardians of gun violence victims can submit a form to The Shotline.

However, the use of AI to generate voices of deceased individuals brings up ethical concerns. The Federal Communications Commission recently deemed robocalls using AI-generated voices illegal, raised concerns about using deepfake technology to impersonate public figures and not clarifying whether parents of minors have the rights to their children’s likenesses.

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By Joseph Adebayo “TF UX”
Joseph Adebayo is the user experience maestro. With a degree in Graphic Design and certification in User Experience, he has worked as a UX designer in various tech firms. Joseph's expertise lies in evaluating products not just for their technical prowess but for their usability, design, and consumer appeal. He believes that technology should be accessible, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing.
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