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Voice actors are losing their jobs to AI robots – is your job next?

  Is the human-based entertainment industry being phased out and replaced by a new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, robot-based entertai...

 Is the human-based entertainment industry being phased out and replaced by a new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, robot-based entertainment industry? This certainly seems to be the case with voice acting.

Several famous actors and industry advocacy groups are in a panic over the great strides being made in AI voiceover matching, which involves the use of computer robots that are able to mimic the voices of real people – and nobody can tell the difference.

If a robot can be programmed to sound just like your favorite voiceover actors, then production companies are sure to use them instead of the real thing and save lots of money in the process – this is what high-paid voiceover actors everywhere fear most.

A company called ElevenLabs recently released a beta version of a new software program that is capable of making “on-demand multilingual audio support a reality across education, streaming, audiobooks, gaming, movies, and even real-time conversation.” Once out of beta, this software program could replace human voice acting forever.

Voiceover actors are now having to pay very close attention to the contracts they sign as many of them contain waiver clauses that effectively sign away the rights to their own voices and hand them over to synthesized AI robot computers.

“Synthetic versions of the voices are then apparently generated, sometimes with the actor receiving no additional compensation,” explains RT about how the process works.  

4chan members used AI robots to have famous actors read Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” – and nobody could tell the difference

Creating an AI-generated voice from the real thing is often as simple as recording 10-60 minutes of human audio and translating it into a synthetic replica. From this, any word input can be used to have that synthetic replica speak aloud as if it was a real person.

Members of the 4chan message board experimented with this successfully when they took audio samples of famous, real-life actors and had them read sections of Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” Once replayed, nobody could tell the difference between the real voices and the synthetic ones.

“It’s disrespectful to the craft to suggest that generating a performance is equivalent to a real human being’s performance,” lamented SungWon Cho, a game and animation voice actor whose career is threatened by these new AI robots.

Fryda Wolff, one of Cho’s colleagues, agrees with him. She warns that unscrupulous clients can now use such technology whenever they feel like it, including when a real-life voice actor refuses to read some parts of a script.

As for the waiver clauses being hidden in voiceover contracts, National Association of Voice Actors president and founder Tim Friedlander says they are often “confusing and ambiguous.” Consequently, many voice actors miss these clauses and inadvertently end up handing over their voice rights to AI robots.

“They are really close to not needing actors at all,” one commenter wrote on a story about the AI voiceover takeover, which in the not-too-distant future might also replace screen actors using superimposed imagery and AI-driven voiceovers.

“In a short time, not even a phone call nor a video call will be able to be trusted as ‘real,'” wrote another. “It must be in person or nothing is real.”

“No doubt this will only make the 0.1% even richer than before,” added someone else to the conversation. “I’m glad I’ll be dead before someone is able to digitally clone me. What a world. I hope a solar flare takes us all out.”

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