New true crime podcast uses AI cloning tools to recreate deleted social media videos

Podshape leverages AI to tell story of The Ordinary founder Brandon Truaxe

Podcast publisher Podshape has used cloning tools powered by artificial intelligence to recreate deleted social media videos in its newly-released true crime podcast, the company announced. 

Out of The Ordinary tells the story of computer scientist and cosmetics entrepreneur Brandon Truaxe who founded beauty company DECIEM, the company behind famous skincare brand The Ordinary. He was removed from the company after expressing erratic behaviour online in the midst of a supposed drug-fueled breakdown, and later passed away in 2020. 

The podcast uses AI cloning tools to recreate some of the social media videos that Truaxe posted across the company’s social media channels during his breakdown, which were later deleted. The recreations are based on texts of these posts that were found by Podshape’s research team across various sources including court documents and other media. 

“This is a tragic tale of a man who was a business genius and took a few missteps which ultimately led to his demise,” said Podshape co-founder Jay Walkerden. “We have used an AI cloning tool to recreate these posts in order to tell this story as authentically as possible.”

AI has become an increasingly popular tool used amongst podcasters and production companies, with many leveraging its capabilities to pick up menial tasks such as writing show notes or descriptions of episodes. AI can also be used to create a library of synthetic voices which can be used to manufacture artificial host-read ads in podcasts. Companies like Spotify have already started to experiment with this, according to The Ringer founder Bill Simmons. 

The use of AI to clone voices of others has also brought concern about deep fakes, which is a form of synthetic media used to create convincing images, audio, and video facsimiles of known figures online. There have been cases of this in podcasting with AI being used to create fake interviews such as an episode with Joe Rogan and the late Steve Jobs.

The first episode Podshape’s Out Of The Ordinary is available now to listen to ad-free for subscribers on Apple Podcasts, and will continue to release weekly. It will later be made available across all other podcast platforms from 28 August. 

Podshape is also behind Australian true crime podcast The Garden of Eden, an eight-part series which investigates the mysterious death of 15-year-old girl Eden Westbrook.