Have you ever wanted to put your own words into Barack Obama’s mouth? Well, now you’ve got the chance, thanks to a new website called ‘Talk Obama To Me’ that can make the president say pretty much anything you type.
It works in the same way as the popular ‘Mashup’ YouTube videos that splice together clips from politicians/celebrities so it appears that they are singing or rapping. The only difference is that the site is able to search through thousands of clips from Obama to make him say what you want in a couple of seconds.
If you type in a word that isn’t in the database, the program will attempt to reproduce it by splicing it together from different syllables; this doesn’t always work too well, but it’s still an impressive feat.
The project is the work of Ed King, a PhD Candidate in linguistics at Stanford University. He told BuzzFeed News that he first had the idea after seeing the YouTube video of former President George W. Bush ‘singing’ U2’s ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ back in 2008.
“I was studying linguistics and computer science at the time and learning about things like automatic speech generation,” he said. “So when I saw the ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ video I thought, ‘hmm, I wonder if I could do that automatically.’”
King said he’s been working on Talk Obama To Me off and on since March 2015, but all in all it took about three months of “solid” work to put together. “It took about a month to put together the video database, then another month to get it to handle words that Obama had never said before,” he said. “Then it was just a matter of putting the pieces together and getting it online.”
The site is proving so popular that the servers keep crashing, but King says he’s working on the problem and that they “always come back” within a few minutes.
Here’s another example of a Mashup video, this one from the masters of the genre – Cassettboy. It shows UK Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Home Secretary Theresa May revealing the true nature of the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snoopers Charter) to the tune of ‘Every breath you take’ by The Police.