31 January 2023
Every voice actor is going to lose their job!
I have written a lot about AI recently, but when I came across this new Text-to-speech synthesiser and my house mate said “Oh sh*t I’m going to lose my job” it really hit home.
After text to image, it was only a matter of time before an AI could turn text into audio. Now text to voice is not a new concept. In fact it’s been around for over 300 plus years.
“In the 1700s, Russian professor Christian Kratzenstein created acoustic resonators that mimicked the sound of the human voice.”A short history of text to speech – speechify.com
Speechify.com, where I borrowed the above quote. Is a Text-to-speech software created by Cliff Weitzman. It was built to help those with accessibility needs read books. It’s impressive. A quick browse of the website and you can hear any text read by Gwyneth Paltrow or Snoop Dog. But, it’s not going to replace a voice actor. The software seems to read back each word individually. It lacks intonation and flow, something a voice actor can do naturally.
Text-to-speech, with your own voice
Due to my recent obsession with artificial Intelligence it wasn’t surprising to see a video pop up on my TikTok feed with AI in the title. but after seeing the example I had to try it.
ElevenLabs.io is a Text-to-Speech software very similar to the Speechify example above. But as you can see from the example it’s so much better! Not only does the website allow you to listen to written text read from a Celebrity in a far more natural and flowing way. It allows you to record your own voice to the site and it will then process that in to a scarily accurate speech-to-text generator.
Ok, ok! You need to hear some proof. I copied my voice and some text from our company brand guidelines into the AI and here are the results:
So after hearing this, Rachel our fearless leader at Virtual Approval said:
“It sounds like you, but like you on your very very best behaviour.”
I have to admit, it’s not perfect. But the website is currently still in Beta and the examples already made on the website are far better than that of my voice. So it leads me to the question that I have asked in my previous AI related tech blogs (click here for more). Will AI text-to-speech replace the jobs of those in Voiceover acting jobs?
Will voice actors really be losing their jobs?
I think the answer has to be considered like this: If those who record audio books, voiceovers and other similar content are un willing to adapt, I think the answer is yes.
On the eleven labs website, they promote a more premium service aimed at those sorts of professionals. Replicating their voice with “ultimate fidelity” and “any accents”. Allowing a voice actor to create their own voiceover AI and then replicate that far quicker and far more efficiently every time they have a voiceover project.
But like other AI services in order to take advantage of that you have to learn and use the software. So are the days of reading full scripts in your home studio numbered, yes, will they replace your jobs? That’s up to you.
How can this technology be used by Team Virtual Approval?
As this is a company blog I think it’s important I talk about why this this technology is exciting to us as an Events Agency.
First of all we find ourselves constantly using voice overs in our marketing. Both internally and for our external client events.
Then secondly and I think this is the most important, Accessibility. It’s not just a buzz word, at Virtual Approval we pride ourselves in trying to ensure all our events are accessible. Now directly text-to-speech software isn’t something we use in our day to day events, but translation is. With AI software at the point it is, I can only predict it is a matter of time before we see seamless, unmanned multi lingual translation in every event.