Death of the narrator? Apple unveils suite of AI-voiced audiobooks...
Updated: Jan 7
The headline was "Death of the narrator? Apple unveils suite of AI-voiced audiobooks"...
It was 7am EST Thursday 5th January, I sipped my coffee, the first of many to be consumed after I had stayed up all night narrating one of 3 audiobooks.
I read this and blinked... and then paused.
At least AI won't be staying up until 2am narrating a much loved trilogy - totally losing track of time because they were so immersed in the beautiful writing and realizing that they better turn the coffee on automatic start for the 6am wake up.
AI don't get immersed in anything - they are QUITE boring - nor do they drink coffee...
Nor will it be crying over the death of a beloved character, that you had so hoped would survive, or blushing when the two lead characters FINALLY *ahem...*.
Because as far as I am aware AI do not *ahem* ... ever... only in films and that is just, well, weird.
AI won't be giggling over the authors comedic writing, and having to retake the line several times as they just cannot stop giggling, resulting in snorts and snot bubbles.
AI are also rubbish at standup comedy they have ZERO sense of humor or comedic timing.
Nor will they have to pause before narrating the book of a young autistic boy - which wouldn't remind the AI of its own autistic brother who died in his sleep and was the reason behind it being chosen to narrate the book.
AI have no hearts and will not feel that heartbreak.
As narrators we stay up late, we miss out on social events - choosing to work, because we love what we do. We are pale and pasty as we never see the sun, coming out of our dark studios and booths blinking our weary eyes like little moles which are swollen from tears of laughter or sadness. We flop down, feeling completely wrung out from the books we have narrated with so much love... giving life to the words as if we wrote them. Each book treated with the same love and care as the last.
The AI won't have any of this and in turn the books won't have the heart and soul we narrators pour into them.
The narrator & voice acting community is one of the most loving, supportive, vibrant, eclectic I have ever had the honor to be part of... It is the tribe I always wanted to be in. Where the most interesting, nerdy, intelligent, fun, sexy, sassy actors unite over a love of books and voice acting.
AI will never have that.... and as such the books narrated will be empty and soulless.
There may be a place for AI - it is NOT in audiobooks or indeed in anything where you have heart, soul and pure emotion.
But what is YOUR opinion... that is mine and I am sticking to it.
Now excuse me while I head to my lovingly built home studio to talk to myself and cry a few tears.
READ GUARDIAN ARTICLE HERE
Image Description: Me in my award nominated pro-home studio which has recorded hundreds of thousands of hours of audiobooks and audio work with clients globally.