However, these aren’t new questions for engineers at companies in the Boston area who are at the forefront of vocal simulation technology.

The Cambridge-based Modulate and VocalID modules in Belmont each produce software that can mimic human voices. The CEOs of both companies are aware of the potential abuse and are forming a coalition of software companies to set ethical standards for the industry. Meanwhile, Nuance Communications of Burlington, pioneering software that enables computers to understand human language, is focused on developing products that can identify counterfeit computer-generated language.

Most people shouldn’t panic about synthetic speech. “If the question is, this can happen to a normal person,” said Mike Pappas, CEO of Modulate, “I think the answer is still pretty vehemently no.”

That’s because it takes a lot of audio to create an accurate model of a person’s voice – worth several hours, according to Brett Beranek, general …

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