Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be the stuff of science fiction. Nowadays, AI has been integrated into many aspects of our lives. From robo-advisors to household devices like Alexa, it's not unusual to see machine learning being used in almost every industry.
What about AI for voice acting? Will this technology take over the need to hire real voice actors? Here are some pretty compelling reasons why actual people will still trump machines in voiceover work:
Human Emotions Can’t be Replicated
Text-to-speech programs are undoubtedly becoming more sophisticated. Some can even sound close to actual human speech. The technology available these days makes them easy to program, which is convenient for large, ambitious projects that don’t necessarily have the time and budget to hire many voice actors.
However, what separates human voice actors from AI voiceover programs is how the former can express a wide range of emotions. Even if AI voiceover programs can mimic human speech, they can still fall short when it comes to tone, accent, and inflection. Even with top-of-the-line AI and programming, modern science has yet to find a way to replicate human emotion — and it shows in AI voiceovers.
AIs Can Sound Unnatural
AIs for voiceovers are like the special effects in a movie: they can seem pretty innovative at first, but you can still figure out which one’s machine-generated and which one isn’t — and it can be pretty distracting. Unlike a machine’s brain, the human brain has thousands of years of evolution behind it that help us recognize actual human voices. Even with a complex program, AI voices can still sound stilted, unnatural, flat, and emotionless. You’ll always have that nagging feeling that something’s just not entirely right with an AI-generated voice.
There are lots of ways emotion can be expressed. Sadness, disappointment, joy, surprise, or a number of others can have several different articulations. AI voice programs may imitate this to some degree, but they won’t always deliver the right expression for a particular line. Humans, on the other hand, can understand context deeper, enabling them to make that judgment call about whether they should hold back or go all out when delivering a line of dialogue.
The Human Touch
While AI voiceover programs can be a good investment for certain situations, it’s still better to hire a voiceover artist for any kind of project. Not only will you get a more natural-sounding voice, but they’ll be able to give you that human touch that can elevate your project into something that’s even more wonderful than you expected.