* External authors




Not My Voice! A Taxonomy of Ethical and Safety Harms of Speech Generators

Wiebke Hutiri*

Orestis Papakyriakopoulos*

Alice Xiang

* External authors




The rapid and wide-scale adoption of AI to generate human speech poses a range of significant ethical and safety risks to society that need to be addressed. For example, a growing number of speech generation incidents are associated with swatting attacks in the United States, where anonymous perpetrators create synthetic voices that call police officers to close down schools and hospitals, or to violently gain access to innocent citizens' homes. Incidents like this demonstrate that multimodal generative AI risks and harms do not exist in isolation, but arise from the interactions of multiple stakeholders and technical AI systems. In this paper we analyse speech generation incidents to study how patterns of specific harms arise. We find that specific harms can be categorised according to the exposure of affected individuals, that is to say whether they are a subject of, interact with, suffer due to, or are excluded from speech generation systems. Similarly, specific harms are also a consequence of the motives of the creators and deployers of the systems. Based on these insights we propose a conceptual framework for modelling pathways to ethical and safety harms of AI, which we use to develop a taxonomy of harms of speech generators. Our relational approach captures the complexity of risks and harms in sociotechnical AI systems, and yields a taxonomy that can support appropriate policy interventions and decision making for the responsible development and release of speech generation models.

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