In today’s world, technological advancements are transforming the way we live and work at a record pace. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is pushing boundaries. And as voice artists, we’ve certainly been hearing the rumblings of how AI could impact our work in the future. So, I decided to dig in and just see for myself what level AI voice is at right now. I recently took voice cloning on a test drive, using Speechify software, to create a digital clone of my own voice.
The Journey with Speechify:
My curiosity led me to explore Speechify, a text-to-speech app, that uses the capabilities of AI to clone voices. Speechify is on the forefront of speech-to-text and voice cloning. The process was very simple and quick. With just a few seconds of my own recording, the software created a digital version of my voice.
How Well Did Speechify Work?
Did Speechify truly capture the essence of my unique vocal characteristics? How well could it mimic emotions and inflections? I’ve captured the results in this video:
In the end, Speechify did not produce a voice that was anywhere near my own voice. And its ability to understand the context of scripts, to add emotion and even to correctly pronounce words used in various scenarios was far from impressive. Yet, it's crucial to remember that the technology is rapidly evolving, and the imperfections observed today may be addressed in future updates. And those who are willing to make a sizable investment may be able to have their voice cloned with more accuracy.
How can AI Benefit Voice Artists?
Will the future of voice over work change in the future because of advancements to AI? It certainly may, but it may not affect everyone the same way. There may be some work that goes to AI instead of human voice artists…but those scripts are likely not the ones that needed a voice “artist.” When meaning, emotion and quality matter, humans…artists… will not be replaced.
Can voice artists reap the rewards in some way? Absolutely. When voice cloning software gets to the point where it can truly and accurately reproduce your voice, voice artists will be able to license their voice as an additional income stream. We don’t have to fear this, we have to become educated.
My venture into voice cloning initially made me nervous. Would I uncover that the voice over world as I know it would soon be coming to an end? Would AI take over our jobs and careers? I walked away feeling relieved (that the technology is not yet ready to take over the world) and also fascinated. There are ways to use this new technology to our advantage. And nothing will ever replace human expression, emotion, authenticity and the ability to feel the essence of a script and bring it to life. We have to keep our minds open and learning. And as we navigate this evolving landscape, it's essential to consider the ethical implications as well.
(The purpose of this particular blog post is not to discuss the legal ramifications of voice cloning or use rights, but you may read Speechify’s Terms here.