Ari Emanuel lets his AI alter ego open Endeavor’s earnings call

Corporate executives can often sound like robots during their post-earnings conference calls with Wall Street analysts.

Ari Emanuel, chief executive of talent agency and owner of UFC Endeavor, has taken that idea literally. On Tuesday afternoon, a synthetic version of Emanuel’s voice delivered the opening notes on Endeavor’s fourth-quarter earnings call, instead of Emanuel himself.

Emanuel’s voice was replicated with technology from Florida-based Speechify, a firm that provides text-to-speech software. Endeavor became a minority investor in Speechify last year. One of the English voices featured on Speechify’s website is Snoop Dogg, a client of Hollywood talent agency WME, owned by Beverly Hills-based Endeavor.

“We used a recording of Ari’s voice and our AI (artificial intelligence) generation system to create a synthesized version of Ari’s voice,” Cliff Weitzman, CEO of Speechify, said in a statement.

Speechify launched a new product line on Tuesday that will create AI voices.

It took just over six months of testing and learning to create a synthetic version of Emanuel’s voice, according to Endeavour. The company said it is looking at potential opportunities in the AI ​​space for Endeavor and its clients.

So is “Ari Emanuel,” the AI ​​voice, ready for the role of entertainment industry mogul Ari Emanuel?

Good enough, perhaps, to handle the opening statements of an earnings call, which is usually a situational summary of a firm’s results with bullish generalities about the company’s overall position in the industry.

“Coming into our first full year as a public company, we’re encouraged by our performance in 2022,” AI Emanuel’s synthetic voice said. “We saw strong growth across our segments. Our business has proven to be resilient despite the ongoing macroeconomic headwinds.”

An actual human Emanuel handled the Q&A portion of the call, fielding questions from analysts about the details of the business. He said the timing was right to include Speechify’s technology in the quarterly earnings call, “so you can hear what it’s all about.”

The effort comes as the industry grapples with new technologies that could change the way production and writing on sets is handled. One of the issues the Writers Guild of America could grapple with in upcoming negotiations with studios is the regulation of artificial intelligence in writing, as well as concerns about pay from streaming and the use of so-called mini-rooms. Studios are already preparing for the possibility of film and television writers going on strike.

The real Emanuel addressed the possibility of a work stoppage and damage to Endeavour’s business.

“I think we’re well positioned as far as a strike goes,” Emanuel said, citing the company’s diversified business, which includes sports and music. “A large percentage of our economy comes from outside of writing, running a business.”

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