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Is artificial intelligence in the VO industry going to take your jobs?

Let's talk about AI. It's here, and it's getting better. But should you worry about it? Is AI going to replace voice actors?

Is artificial intelligence in the VO industry going to take your jobs? - 8:04

Hey guys, welcome to another edition of The Gift of Gab. Today I'm answering questions from my YouTube channel. You might remember this video here, the one I did about so much BS being in the voiceover industry. Well, that video sparked a great question from one of my viewers. We're gonna talk about it today.

So I love when you guys write in. By the way, feel free to do it more often. It's always great to answer questions and get feedback directly from viewers on exactly what you guys want me to do in upcoming videos. Plus it makes my life easier, you give me topic ideas, it's great.

Ingrid's Voice writes in: "My concern is the talk about AI taking over the industry because it's cheap, quick, and producers don't have to scout through demos to hire the right talent if they don't have their CRM full of talent already. I know it sounds like I'm getting ahead of myself, but in an industry already saturated over the brim with talent, it's a concern. Seems like knowing someone in the industry is the preferred way to get in." Okay Ingrid, so yeah, for starters, yes, you're totally getting ahead of yourself, I I agree there a hundred percent. But some of these concerns are super valid, so let's pick them apart. The first thing to understand is is that there's a lot of talk about AI, right? And we've all seen it. There's loads of videos all over the Internet of AIS that are being used to generate voice and to generate celebrity voices and they're even being used to generate the voices of deceased celebrities.

Now, there's all kinds of crazy things that are being done with AI. It's a really cool technology. I'm not going to say that it's not, but it has a really long way to go for the most part. We still have yet to see an AI that really comes with a lot of emotional value. For very quick, little responses and interactions, it's great and it does its job very, very well. Keep in mind there's also two different forms of AI: there's AI that is completely generated by a computer/ an algorithm, you know, basically like a CG-generated voice, and then there is what is known as TTS, which is effectively a voice actor that has recorded copious amounts of prompts or content that is then used to generate response-based voices later. This is Siri, this is Alexa, this is a lot of other types of similar applications that we're seeing and everything from GPS systems to even certain prompt based systems and like Banking and on hold systems, anything where you are directly communicating with/ having a conversation with the voice, those types of things still very much require the use of an actor. The actor is simply being paid up front in advance to do a SH*T load of work.

Okay, okay, I can't stress this enough: TTS work is nuts. Typically you're talking about massive contracts that take months worth of work to complete. Really, really intense projects, some of these go up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, too. Like when Apple records a new voice for Siri, because, by the way, people... sometimes think, you know, Siri is only one voice. Now, Siri is recorded in every language, in every dialect, and with multiple accents. There's like 50 or 60 Siri's throughout the world, and each one of them is paid really, really, really well to do what they're doing. It's just a tremendous amount of recording that gets done, again, on the front end to generate all of that material.

I think what Ingrid's talking about though is true AI, again, the stuff that is being computer generated. Here's the deal: a client that knows that they want to use an AI doesn't carry a roster of voice actors. A client that knows that they want to use an AI has probably never really booked voiceover before. They're not in our industry, they don't have a lot to do with what we do on a day-to-day basis, and they probably don't have a great respect for it. They're looking to do something cheap, they're looking to do it fast, and it's probably a one-and-done kind of project. I don't think there's a lot of longevity in that stuff, that's why they're okay with using a computer-generated voice and they don't care about the nuance and the subtleties and whatever else can come with that. They're just, like, whatever, it's just a one-time thing that we need and that's okay.

The clientele that carry rosters, that work with voice actors, that are used to doing this on a daily basis, I don't know of any of them that would even consider using an AI. That's just not on the table, so it's it's two very separate categories and you have to kind of separate them in your mind. I think voice actors who do this for a living, we can't worry about that, we can't stress about what is basically that new Marketplace of, you know, one-offs or jobs that are going to be, they're gonna go to the computers for things that are probably very utility based and lacking depth and, again, lacking emotion and lacking any kind of artistry, because it's like, you know, an instruction manual. That's cool, I'm good with that. I don't mind losing that job to a computer, that's okay. It's actually really, really boring. I'm all right with that the stuff that requires humanity, the stuff that is going to require heart and soul is still gonna go to an actor and again we have yet to see an AI that's capable of that.

So Ingrid, don't don't stress about it. Don't worry about it. I think that there are two very different things. Is it a good idea to keep an eye on that technology? Is it a good idea to know what's happening? Yes. It's also good to understand that that stuff right now is super expensive and it's still very much in development, right? It's not yet accessible to everybody and a lot of it is almost like a party trick right now for the people that create it. We're a long ways off from that stuff being an everyday application, so that's just my two cents on it. There's scores of stuff of course on the web on AI voices, and again, again do your research. You should absolutely take a look and see what's out there, but the people who are hiring voice actors, the people who have a roster of voice actors, they're not engaging AI. Why would they? That is just a detriment to their own industry. Wouldn't make much sense.

Thanks for watching, guys. I hope this helped.

Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, audio, artificial intelligence, ai, voiceover rosters


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