What comes to mind when you think of an AI voice? Siri’s helpful traffic updates or Skynet’s chilling ‘I am everywhere’ speech? AI voices have actually come a long way from their initial “robotic voice phase.” Now, in 2023, an AI voice can breathe life into various voice over projects like video game characters and audiobooks, and they even create soundalike styles for famous voices.
This type of technology learns from experience and through mimicry, so it can be taught to handle generic and specialized tasks simply by processing data. AI can even perform certain human-like things, such as playing chess, responding to chat and voice messages, and even driving a car. However, many experts believe that AI technology will never replace humans. But, this is contrary to Hollywood movies that often portray AI technology like Skynet and I, Robot, as replacing humans. So, how will AI technology affect the voice over industry in the future? Browsing online industry forums shows that for many voice actors and clients alike, the jury’s still out.
But if your projects need an audio outlet – should you opt for an AI-generated voice? Well, at Voice123 our specialty is voice, so we have unique insights into how AI voice actors can combine accents and tones to create a tailored audio experience. Whether you’re a filmmaker, video game creator, or advertiser, an AI voice could have a place in your audio projects. That said, here’s everything you need to know: how you make and use them and what type of audio projects utilize them.
What are AI voices?
AI voices are synthetic, TTS (Text-To-Speech) computer-generated voices created with artificial intelligence techniques to produce natural-sounding audio. An AI-generated voice uses techniques like concatenative and parametric synthesis. That creates customizable AI voice overs based on gender, age, accent, and other emotional characteristics. AI voice technology also allows for voice cloning, enabling the replication of famous or recognizable voices. Think of the AI voice generator that preserved Val Kilmer’s voice and James Earl Jones’s Darth Vader character. But who makes them – and how?
How are AI voices made and used?
They’re made with deep learning models like WaveNet and Tacotron. High-quality recordings are also collected from professional voice actors and synthetic voices. Clients use them in various audio projects in the corporate, entertainment, and voice over industry. These AI voice generator technologies use large databases of recorded human voices to train the AI algorithm to recognize varied human speech patterns like intonation and emotion so that an AI voice over can mimic and generate convincing natural human voices.
For example, AI-generated voices in the entertainment industry can match desired character traits and emotions in dubbed films, animated character voice overs, and documentary narration. For audiobooks, publishers can quickly and cost-effectively transform written books into audio format, making them accessible to a broader audience. Virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant also provide spoken responses and information to make interactions more engaging. GPS and navigation systems even offer turn-by-turn directions with a clear, concise AI voice. And these are just a few of the benefits of AI voices.
Will AI ever replace human voices
While AI does have increasingly human-like abilities, it cannot adapt at the same rate as a human voice actor, as the voice over industry is about much more than just sounding human. Instead, the focus is on cultivating a genuine connection with the audience. So, the difference is that voice actors pay attention to the little details, elements that go undetected by AI voices. These include spontaneity, emotion, varying pitch and pace, and even knowing when to infuse a certain tone, like playfulness or sarcasm, into a line. A human voice actor has the necessary know-how to navigate a script by reading between the lines and highlighting the context. Research has also shown that when humans communicate, their brainwave rhythms start to sync. And brain-to-brain communication is something that AI has not yet learned to mimic. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever make use of AI technology. At the click of a mouse, you can access tons of software to help you with multiple projects.
The Benefits of AI Voices
The benefits of AI voices are consistent quality, unlimited availability, multilingual capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and saving time. Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.
- AI voice overs offer consistent quality with clarity, articulation, and naturalness. So, there are no performance variations since AI voices maintain a consistent standard throughout the entire duration of the speech.
- An AI voice can generate speech indefinitely, providing unlimited availability. This eliminates scheduling constraints and allows on-demand voice access with prompt and efficient audio content production.
- AI voices have multilingual capabilities, adapting to different languages, accents, and linguistic nuances. This enables seamless speech generation for diverse audiences and global markets.
- AI voice overs are cost-effective. Prices are often fixed, regardless of the speech volume generated. So, they’re beneficial for long-form content or projects with multiple voices.
- An AI-generated voice saves time by rapidly generating speech without extensive recording sessions or post-production editing. So, turnaround times are quicker, facilitating scalability for projects with tight deadlines.
What are AI voice actors
AI voice actors are virtual characters with synthetic voices that deliver human-like voice over performances ranging from documentary narrations to virtual assistants for devices. When an AI voice actor is developed, the system is fed extensive voice data. This includes vocal style, accent, or persona so that the AI voice generator can analyze and emulate the unique features and nuances associated with the chosen voice characteristics.
AI voice actors can also adapt to specific accents, like a British accent for a UK audience or an American accent for virtual assistant services targeted at a US audience. AI voice actors can even embody different personas by assuming distinct roles and personalities. They sound authoritative and confident when delivering professional presentations or youthful and energetic when voicing characters in animated films, video games, or children’s audiobooks. The ability of AI voice actors to adapt to specific personas enhances their versatility and widens the range of projects they can contribute to. Let’s take a closer look at some of these projects.
Audio Projects Utilizing AI Voices
Audio projects utilizing AI voices include advertising campaigns, e-learning modules, video games, and interactive voice response (IVR) systems. For example, Coca-Cola featured an AI-generated voice that narrated a heartwarming story in its “Open That Coca-Cola” campaign. In E-learning, Duolingo, a popular language learning platform, employs an AI voice to provide pronunciation guidance and simulate conversational practice.
Video games have also embraced AI voice overs to enhance the gaming experience. The game “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” used an AI-generated voice for its main character, bringing a distinct and eerie quality to the dialogue. In the telecommunications industry, companies like Google and Apple have integrated AI voices into their voice assistants (Google Assistant and Siri) to provide users with a more natural and human-like interaction. In each instance, AI voices have revolutionized audio-based experiences.
The future of AI in voice overs
For AI to sound more like authentic voices, it must express various human emotions, ranging in complexity. From anxiety and aggression to excitement or sarcasm. These emotions add an array of depth to any vocal performance. So, until this can be achieved by AI, human voices will continue to dominate the voice over industry. However, industries are constantly evolving, and some tech companies are focusing more on how to make AI voices sound more real. Sonantic is one such example. The company has created a type of CGI audio that it believes to be the first human-like AI voice available. Although still in its infancy, this software is already used by gaming platform Obsidian.
So folks, from Skynet to Siri and Alexa, AI voices are here to stay. Of course, there’s an argument that an AI voice over isn’t authentic or engaging. It lacks emotional depth. Nevertheless, an AI voice is still a tool to help you brand and market your company to a broader audience. And on that note, we’d like to wish you well in the world of AI technology. The super voice stars you’ll find on Voice123 are also some of the best professionals in the business. Why not take a moment to get familiar with some of their past work? You’ll surely find the voice that adds just the right human element to your project.
And when you’re ready to harness the power of AI voices in your projects, Voice123 is here to help. If you have a specific AI need, get in touch with our Managed Services team. They’ll provide free project advice and guide you in creating high-quality AI voice solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Do things the AI (oops); we meant the Voice123 way!
You can get AI voices from various TTS software and completed voice overs from online platforms like Voice123.
The most realistic AI voice is Tacotron 2, which Google’s DeepMind developed; it uses a neural network architecture and extensive training data to produce high-quality, realistic, human-like speech.
Yes, some platforms offer free access to an AI voice generator with limited features that sometimes offer lower audio quality, usage restrictions, and limited customization options compared to paid options.