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ElevenLabs AI is an artificial intelligence text-to-speech synthesizer tool created by ElevenLabs that can generate voiceovers for scripts using audio samples from the user's intended character, making it usable for persons ranging from celebrities to video game characters. Shortly after the beta release in late January 2023, the AI-voice tool gained virality on 4chan and YouTube, with video memes being made of different characters or famous people saying outlandish things.
ElevenLabs was formed by ex-Google and Palantir employees sometime around late 2021 and early 2022, launching its blog and website shortly after. On August 10th, 2022, ElevenLabs published its first blog post under the title "Hello from Eleven Labs" that detailed what the company's tools were about. In the post, ElevenLabs stated:
Today marks our first-ever blog entry so an introduction is in order. We're a voice technology research company. We use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to bring the most powerful automatic dubbing, voice conversion and speech synthesis tools to content creators, web platforms and production studios across industries.
ElevenLabs created an official YouTube channel on January 15th, 2022, and then uploaded its first "AI Voice Conversion Demo" on September 6th, 2022, receiving over 34,000 views in roughly four months (seen below).
On January 23rd, 2023, the company released the beta of its program Eleven Labs AI to the public. Four days later on the 27th, ElevenLabs then uploaded another sample of its tool alongside the beta launch in the form of an AI narration of The Great Gatsby, with the video accumulating nearly 10,000 views in five days (shown below)
In the following days after the beta was released in late January 2023, it quickly caught the attention of gamers for use in mod creation for video games and memers for use in creating memes. This led to one of the first viral instances of ElevenLabs AI being used to recreate the Ahsoka Tano Copypasta with Obi-Wan Kenobi voice, which was uploaded to YouTube on January 29th, 2023, by the channel Kostas Anagno, receiving over 14,000 views and 700 likes in three days.
Later in the day on January 29th, the YouTuber Pepezilla would use ElevenLabs AI to upload an image in which he uses Walter White voice to read off a script of him looking through various 4chan threads and looking at what other trolls were posting using the service, earning over 3,000 views in three days (shown below).
ElevenLabs AI continued spreading online with further meme examples of characters and famous people reading off copypastas getting high view counts in under a day. For example, on February 1st, 2023, another upload by Kostas Anagno in which Joe Biden reads off the You Will Never Be A Real Woman copypasta, received over 3,000 views in 10 hours, proving to be a prominent viral example among other 4chan ElevenLabs AI uploads (shown below).