In Defense of the Human Voice
Updated: May 21
Artificial intelligent voices are taking off!
As technology advances, the world of voice overs is starting to see more AI-generated voices being used in various media. This is an exciting development for industry and employees alike. The ability to work smarter and faster is something we all strive for and as a business owner, creating more efficient workflows is a daily practice. It is, however, important to remember the value and uniqueness that actual human voices bring to finalized projects that include voice over. The list of the superiority is actually quite infinite but for time purposes, five are listed below.
Humans are versatile and quite frankly messy (this is a good thing!)
One of the key advantages of actual human voices is their versatility. Humans have the ability to modulate their tone, pitch, and inflection to convey a wide range of emotions. This is particularly important in voice overs, where the tone and delivery of the voice can significantly impact the meaning and impact of the message being delivered. While AI-generated voices may be able to mimic human speech patterns, they are limited in their ability to convey emotions in a way that feels natural and authentic. Why human emotion is necessary is because it's more compelling to listen to and therefore more effective in its ability to communicate. If you are trying to sell a product, detached and emotionless voices are easily dismissed.
Human voices bring a personal touch that AI cannot replicate.
There's something inherently personal about hearing a human voice in a recording or media. Human voices are unique and bring a level of warmth and authenticity that AI-generated voices simply can't replicate. AI voice creation can sound human but only in small sections. Once the voice's patterns, inflections and vocal 'flaws' are repeated, it creates a disconnection for the listener and makes it less personal. Hearing a familiar voice can help create a stronger connection between the audience and the message being conveyed. If the message in your industry needs connection from voice to audience, having a voice that can maintain it, is paramount for the message's success. Without it, distrust can begin to grow between brand/product/message and consumer.
Human voices can help break down language and culture barriers.
While AI-generated voices may be able to mimic accents and languages, they still lack the cultural context and understanding that actual human voices can provide. There is also a danger in asking AI to voice something for a different culture that the creator has less experience in and could potentially cause harm to the listener. This could happen with cultural, racial and economic disparities that companies cannot afford to create. Humans and the voices they perform with, bring a level of nuance and understanding to language that helps to break down barriers and create more inclusive and culturally sensitive media. This is particularly important in industries that are trying to reach diverse audiences.
Human voices offer more opportunities for creativity and expression.
When using actual human voices, there's a greater opportunity for creativity, expression and are a time saver for creators. Voice actors are trained in versatility. If a creator believed they wanted a certain type of voice and delivery for a project and upon review, decided on a different direction, the original voice actor they hired would be able to change the tone, pitch, inflection, pace and nuance much quicker than searching through a catalogue of AI voices.
Human voices provide job opportunities for voice actors.
Finally, prioritizing actual human voices over AI-generated voices helps to support and create job opportunities for voice actors. National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA) launched the fAIrvoices campaign to encourage Consent, Control and Compensation for the ethical use of AI. They (and I) encourage all who employee voice actors to join the coalition to help guarantee the health of our industry for years to come. The voice over community is filled with the best of the best in the performing world. Humans whose entire goal is bringing projects to life through the use of their skills and talents and by remaining faceless, they do not require fame or recognition.
By continuing to prioritize human voices, we can all create a community that continues to flourish for performers and creators alike.