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

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

Ari Emanuel, managing director of talent agency and owner of UFC Endeavor, has taken this concept to the extreme. On Tuesday afternoon, a synthesized version of Emanuel’s voice delivered opening remarks on Endeavor’s fourth-quarter earnings call, replacing Emanuel himself.

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

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

Speechify launched a new line of products on Tuesday that will generate artificial intelligence voice commands.

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

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

Good enough, perhaps, to handle open remarks for an earnings call, which is usually a solid summary of a company’s results with bullish generalities about the company’s overall industry position.

“Coming off our first full year as a public company, we are encouraged by our performance in 2022,” Emanuel’s synthetic AI voice said. “We saw strong growth across all of our segments. Our business has proven resilient despite continued macroeconomic headwinds.”

The real-life Emanuel handled the Q&A portion of the call, fielding questions from analysts about the ins and outs of the business. He said the time was right to put Speechify’s technology into quarterly earnings “so you can hear what it’s like.”

The effort comes as the industry grapples with new technologies that could change the way production and writing is handled on sets. One of the issues the Writers Guild of America may face in its upcoming negotiations with the studios is the writing regulation of artificial intelligence, along with concerns about pay-to-stream and the use of so-called mini-rooms. Studios are already preparing for the possibility that screenwriters and TV writers will go on strike.

The real Emanuel considered the possibility of a work stoppage and whether it would hurt Endeavor’s business.

“I think we’re very well positioned as it relates to a strike,” Emanuel said, citing the company’s diversified business, which includes sports and music. “A large percentage of our finances come from outside of the script and direction.”

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