Cheap AI voice clones could put 5000 Australian actors out of a job | Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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Voice actors say they are on the verge of having their jobs completely replaced by artificial intelligence, with corporate and radio roles already starting to be replaced by cheap generative AI clones.

While a high-profile actress like Scarlett Johansson could outdo the world's most prominent AI company within a day by using her voice likeness in its AI products, everyday actors working on commercials, audiobooks and video games fears that they are in danger of becoming their own. Voices get cloned, or completely out of action due to the addition of AI voice clones.

The Australian Association of Voice Actors (AAVA) told a parliamentary committee investigating AI that an estimated 5,000 Indigenous voice actors' jobs were already at risk, with the group pointing to a national radio network that uses human voices. is actively investing in technology to transform the actors of

In its submission, the group criticized the development as “a disappointing move by a player in an industry that has relied on voice artists for over 100 years to bring quality, credibility and humanity to its medium.” What is dependent.”

Simon Kennedy, president of the recently formed association, told Guardian Australia that the advent of AI and its impact on the audio industry was partly the catalyst for the group's formation, but says they are “anti-tech. “We are not and we are certainly not anti-AI.” He said the group just wants fair rules about how the technology will be used, and to protect people's voices against the misuse of AI.

Audiobooks will be the canary in the coal mine for voice actors, he said.

“Audiobooks are the front line because of the volume of content and the perceived cost savings that the companies creating them think they will make.”

Companies may regret the lack of human touch if the book reading voice is AI, he said.

“When it's an AI voice, I think they're going to find people who aren't bothered by their audiobooks anymore. They're just like, 'I'm not feeling anything.'

Corporate work and educational content are also low-hanging fruit for organizations looking to reduce human voice work, but advertising will take longer, Kennedy said.

“Big advertisers want quality and they won't be given AI for some time.”

He said that voice actors who sell their likenesses don't think about the long-term effects.

“I don't think the endgame was really at the forefront of people's minds. That now your voice will be out there in the marketplace, as a digital clone of yourself, basically doing what you normally do as yourself. can get,” he said.

Last year, Guardian Australia reported that Australian software developer Replica Studios had licensed 120 actors' voices for video game development that would pay actors a fee to use clones of their voices in video games. In January the company signed an agreement with the Screen Actors Guild in which it says it has an ethical approach to the use of AI voice – where all content is licensed.

'Wide as the sea, shallow as the hollow'

There has been a mixed reaction from the actors. Cooper Mortlock, an Australian actor who started working in voice acting at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, said it would reduce the workload of up and coming voice actors trying to break into the industry. Will – especially if they use AI-generated scratch. Sounds as a placeholder for the final sound during the production process.

“It's not just things like this, and it limits not only the opportunities for the artists themselves, but also the creative scope of the projects,” he said. “There's no chance for happy accidents or surprises — because AI is taking what's already there and just reworking it. [them]”

Cooper Mortlock says he worked on an animation project on which he cloned his voice and used it without permission after the work closed.

He said that using AI voices to generate dialogue would lack the creativity that comes with using a human voice actor over scripted dialogue.

He said that it is as wide as the ocean but as shallow as the deep.

“You compare it to some recent video games that focus a lot on narrative and character like Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Baldur's Gate 3 … those games are very carefully crafted.”

Until now, AI voice clones often struggled with non-American accents. Australian voices, for example, often retain American inflections. The new services now offer a full range of Australian accents across a range of ages. Kennedy said he hoped the delay was a sign that Australians were making their voices heard.

“We are holding back until there is an ethical framework where we can license our voice knowing that we will be treated fairly and compensated fairly,” he said.

But Mortlock said the lag was due to Australia being a small market, without a large data set for AI to learn the nuances of Australian voices.

More data is now available. I think it was [a] A very American-centric thing … it's just spreading – I don't necessarily think it has anything to do with my accent.

AAVA has called for laws to govern consent, control and compensation for the use of AI voices, ensuring that artists are adequately compensated and have full control over whether – if licensed If so – how their voices are used.

Mortlock has said that an animation project he worked on cloned his voice and used it without consent after the work was closed – which the company denied – and that this was one of the issues. Part is that there is no transparency when AI is being used.

He would like to see AI banned from the creative industry to ensure workers can stay employed, but said a tax on the use of technology to compensate workers, as well as more transparency, would be appropriate. .

“Actors should be paid and I think there needs to be disclosure of who each voice is hiring. Because otherwise they can take that actor off the Internet … it's become the 'Wild West.' Is.

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