Use your voice against AI!

Voice actors are the invisible heroes of a major industry. They give life and personality to animated characters, video games, commercials, audiobooks and more. But what if their voices are no longer needed? What if a computer programme could take over their work? And then I read pp 27 October 2023 a report about the voice actors who are in danger of losing their jobs to technology. (NOS: unrest among dutch voice actors companies replace people with ai). With that, a fear becomes true. It is no longer science fiction. There are already several companies using AI to generate realistic and expressive voices that are indistinguishable from real people.

Because how do you feel when you are a voice actor and your income suddenly threatens to disappear because we are going to settle for a voice composed by technology? A voice that has far less depth or nuance than a human’s voice. And as listeners to voice actors, do we find that an AI-created voice is as enjoyable as a human voice actor? Joseph Weizenbaum, computer scientist, said back in the 1960s: the danger of artificial intelligence is not that they will start thinking more and more like humans, but that humans will start thinking more and more like machines. Is it possible to harness AI without losing human value? For example, voice actors can use AI to adapt their voice to different roles, accents or languages, but still bring in their own emotion and creativity. Thus, they can offer more diversity and quality perhaps?

But my plea is not just about voice actors and what they themselves should and should not do. We all need to realise that the work of many is going to change dramatically. Will work disappear? In my opinion, certainly not. But should we start thinking differently about work and our value as human beings? Definitely! So don’t wait and think it will only happen to the other person. Above all, think for ourselves and be proactive. Discover how we can work together as humans & AI.

It is important for voice actors to be aware of the changes coming, and to prepare for the future. AI can be a threat or an opportunity, depending on how we deal with it. It is up to all of us to make our voices heard. Only in this way can they prevent us from becoming obsolete in a world where AI is increasingly dominant.

This column was created through a collaboration between the author and Bing Chat. Human & AI together!

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