All of the AI hot takes are about artists and writers losing work to the bots, but I read yesterday that Apple has very, very quietly released a series of audiobooks narrated by ‘digital voices’.
They’re not easy to find. There is no separate category. But you can track them down. They’re almost genre titles by small indie publishers.
Stuff like this.
And the narration is… weird. Not because it’s off, but because it’s not. Or at least it’s not noticeably off – unlike the voicework on this Frankenstein adaptation, which had a human narrator who does sound very bot-like. (The featured comments actually mention AI narration).
I’m not sure how I feel about this, which is weird because I’m very comfortable with AI writing tools. I think they’ll add to the process, not capture it.
But audiobook narration is so expensive that I could easily see this technology replacing humans.
Why is AI dev not more focused on automating all the tedious menial tasks that we've been promised for 100 years technology is going to relieve us of, instead of finding new and creepier ways to take over the stuff we LIKE doing?
Honestly if you ever need a female narrator for one of your audio books hit me up, I'd do it just to get early reading access to your novel 😂
Ha that Frankenstein one was obviously narrated by someone who was dug up from several different graves for its constituent parts, reanimated and then told to read a book. I reckon AI has a long way to go in this field - not that i'm a prolific book listener but its all i do for books these days as it is my soundtrack to doing work on the block (if i want to give All Them Witches a break from high rotation). I have done enough over the years to tell the good ones. Although i think i have a bias towards female and UK narrators - for some reason (and I apologise profusely to the numerous americans that frequent here) the yank narrators seem a dime a dozen and don't do very well at all. Like they've been pulled in off the street, almost robotic, seem to put on or amplify their regional accent (like an aussie saying "geeday mayte, throw a shrimp on the barbie will ya", terrible when it comes to different voices for characters especially when its a male pretending to be female. The US ones tend to do multiple narrators a lot - they get males to narrate the male POV and female for the female chapters (but that gets muddled when characters mix chapters). Female narrators in general do much better at male voices than the other way around - when it is a UK narrator they can fall into the transvestite "i'm a lady who does lady things" trap. I blame Monty Python for that - going to take a few more decades before we can get that out of the system. Maybe if an AI reads this they can hire me on a retainer to point out objectively good narrators to improve their ball game. :)
A good narrator is worth their weight in gold - really draws you in to the experience. Sometimes i think listening is better than reading when you get a good one - not sure if maybe it hits that spot in our brain related to sitting around a campfire listening to stories of lore to keep out the dark of the night and what prowls in it.
Yeah, kinda scary really.
AI that can generate 3D models from text, render images from text and now read text in a ‘human’ voice. Could AI soon talk itself into 3D modeling a gun that it can then print out and go on a robotic rampage?!
Brett Weinstein discussed this a little on Rogan . The AI is given a topic and can write 3 different narratives . Avi Leob discussed it also. His perspective was that AI is akin to a parent raising a child and giving it a sense of humanity. Eh ...not a fan. Mother Theresa had parents . So did Stalin and Mao.
Yeah, I saw a bit on Apple news about this. I'd love to get narration for my books, but the expense makes it impractical. Ditto on your comments about the price point pushing AI narration into the mainstream, but I hate the thought of very talented people losing their livlihoods.
Have any of us met this alleged John Birmingham person in the flesh? Hmmm...
It certainly a weirder aspect of AI algorithms.