AI voices can’t hold a candle to real human voice actors. Here’s why.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable strides in creating synthetic speech, which is improving with advancing technology. While AI voices are impressive, they are still far from the real deal. They may be cheaper than using a human, but AI voices fail on so many levels.
Let’s examine why human voice actors will always outshine their AI counterparts. We’ve split this article into performance benefits and casting benefits. Feel free to share this article with anyone daring to consider AI over human speech!
1. Emotional Expression
Human voices possess an extraordinary ability to convey a broad spectrum of emotions. From the infectious laughter that resonates joyfully to the soothing tones that comfort a troubled soul, our voices can express complex feelings with subtlety and depth.
On the other hand, AI voices lack the same level of emotional range, sounding mechanical and monotone while failing to evoke genuine human emotion. The performance of an AI voice is also limited by its inability to switch tone mid-read, leaving a flat result, unlike the emotional rollercoaster and degrees of emphasis an authentic voice can implement.
2. Vocal Variety
Each person possesses a distinct verbal identity characterised by pitch, tone, and timbre variations. Our voices reflect our unique personalities, mood, cultural backgrounds, creativity, identities, and health.
Even the best AI voices fail to capture these complex speech patterns convincingly. At least, not to the intricate degree that voice actors can without even thinking about it, and the spin they can consciously implement on any performance or aspect of their voice. If one read requires a range of emotions or tonal shifts, AI voices are incapable of doing the job.
3. Contextual Adaption
Human voices can adapt to various contexts, audiences, and cultural norms. We effortlessly modulate our tone, pacing, and emphasis to effectively communicate and connect with others, appropriate to the audience, setting, and circumstances.
In contrast, AI voices don’t adapt naturally, often lacking the versatility to adjust speech patterns based on contextual cues. When a voiceover performance requires some level of sensitivity or awareness, only human voices can give a human performance.
4. Non-Verbal Cues
Our voices are complemented by non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language. While this might not immediately sound related to voiceover, these physical movements affect our vocals – people can even hear when you’re smiling!
Without a physical body or presence, an AI voice cannot evoke this depth and richness, missing out on expressive capabilities and nuanced communication. Emotions are less convincing when a cheerful voice doesn’t sound like it’s smiling or a scared voice doesn’t tremble in fear.
5. Intuitive Understanding
Human voices possess an innate ability to understand and interpret subtle nuances and contextual cues in written copy. This allows the voice actor to translate and vocalise these cues. Through shared knowledge and cultural understanding, we can grasp implied meanings and navigate ambiguous statements effortlessly.
Without this intuitive understanding, AI voices will always struggle to interpret how something should be appropriately said. For example, take an obvious lie; a human voice can identify when a character is lying and understand how to sound like a bad liar. Similarly, local voice actors will recognise slang for what it really means, while AI will take the text for its face value.
Feedback is an important step in the voiceover process. Voice actors are skilled at adjusting their performance based on a client’s direction to change the tone, timing, characterisation and delivery. This feedback will also be implemented at specific moments and does not need to be applied to the entire read.
The only way for an AI voice to adapt its “performance” would be by changing the selected voice or pace of the read. This would be especially difficult to apply to specific timecodes, requiring the client to piece together the variations. Real voices can collaborate creatively and apply specific revisions to one read.
7. Fan Connection & Recognition
Many voices have built up a reputation and following throughout their career and have established a fanbase. Much like recognising someone’s face in live-action, recognising a voice provides listeners with a sense of connection and familiarity. This recognition adds a layer of engagement and excitement for fans who appreciate the talent and craft of their favourite voice actors.
AI voices generally don’t have a persona, but even those that do aren’t going to gain fans, connect with audiences, or provide free advertisement via interviews and conventions.
Voice actors are crucial in representing diverse cultures, backgrounds, and demographics. Authentic casting is vital to connecting with audiences and engaging people on their level.
AI voices aren’t human and therefore don’t represent anyone authentically. They cannot provide audiences with inclusivity or authentic representations of characters from various regions or with underrepresented identities. Listeners will feel no personal connection to the project or its message.
While AI voice synthesis technology advances, human voices remain unparalleled in expressing emotions, adapting to various contexts, and conveying nuanced communication. AI voices are yet to achieve the same emotional depth, performance versatility, adaptability, and intuitive understanding that human voices can offer.
Audience perception of AI voices also lags, with content suffering from a lack of driven engagement, allure, and entertainment value.
Even with the possibility that AI voices will dramatically improve, no synthetic voice will ever be able to connect with fans or represent audiences – culturally or beyond.
Ultimately, our natural repertoire of abilities and benefits will remain victorious in the epic battle of AI vs human voiceover.
Do you agree that human voices will remain the best option to engage audiences for the foreseeable future? Join the conversation on Twitter.
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