Friday, May 17, 2024

"Hey! You stole my voice!" (the evil world of artificial intelligence)

 Seems like everywhere you turn these days, you hear about artificial intelligence (AI) and how many "human jobs" will be eliminated. "60 minutes" aired a long report that was just jaw dropping to many. It's up on You Tube, and the AI influence rolling across the world is, in many cases, undeniable.

Quite some time ago (20+ years), an acquaintance of mine who knew I recorded voice overs for pay said, "John, aren't you afraid that those 'robot voices' are going to replace you?" I told him I wasn't overly concerned, as the technology, while coming along, had not developed to the point where the voices sounded human. Part of that was the AI voices could not compete with a human voice when it came to putting emotion into the voice over recording. That was back then. This is now. And the AI voices that are being used in tons of places (e.g. games, on hold messaging, narrations, movies,videos) are being used without the talent's permission. Oh, and there's one other small detail. In a growing number of cases, the voice talent is not being paid for the use of their voice. And many times, the talent has no clue their voice has been stolen in  the first place. The genie is out of the bottle. AI isn't going away. And unfortunately, less than honest folks are participating in outright thievery, while the voice talent is thrown under the bus; and paid zilch. nada. zero.

Here's a link to a couple of voice actors who are suing a production company for 5 million dollars for illegal use of their voices without permission or compensation. It's a pretty long read, but details how AI theft is occuring in the voice over world. In my opinion, I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you think you're tired of hearing negative stories about AI, just wait.

AI is a dirty word in the voice over community. For now. Perhaps, in the future, voice talents will be able to receive royalties/payments with permission for the use of their voice via AI. 

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