HomeAI NewsBusinessAI Voice Clones Threaten Jobs of 5,000 Australian Actors

    AI Voice Clones Threaten Jobs of 5,000 Australian Actors

    The rise of AI vocal technology could upend creative fields like audiobooks and voice acting

    • AI voice clones are beginning to replace human voice actors in corporate and radio roles.
    • The Australian Association of Voice Actors (AAVA) warns that 5,000 local jobs are at risk.
    • Calls for laws governing consent, control, and compensation for AI voice use are intensifying.

    The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) vocal technology is beginning to upend the world of voice acting, putting the jobs of approximately 5,000 Australian actors in jeopardy. This shift has sparked significant concern among industry professionals, particularly as AI-generated voices start to replace humans in corporate and radio roles.

    The Rise of AI Voice Clones

    The Australian Association of Voice Actors (AAVA) has flagged the increasing use of generative AI voice clones as a major threat to the industry. According to Simon Kennedy, the association’s president, the introduction of AI is not just a future concern; it is already impacting the livelihood of many actors. The AAVA’s submission to a parliamentary committee highlights the urgency of the issue, especially as a national radio network has begun investing in AI to replace human voice talent.

    While high-profile actors like Scarlett Johansson have the clout to push back against unauthorized use of their voices, everyday actors lack such influence. As a result, many fear they may see their voices cloned or lose job opportunities entirely. Audiobooks are cited as the initial battleground for this technology, with AI voices potentially supplanting human narrators due to perceived cost savings.

    Industry Reaction and Ethical Concerns

    The response from the voice acting community has been mixed. While some see the technology as an inevitable evolution, others worry about the long-term implications. Cooper Mortlock, a voice actor, argues that AI could significantly undermine opportunities for newcomers in the industry. He emphasizes the importance of human creativity in voice work, something that AI-generated voices currently lack. “There’s no opportunity for happy accidents or surprises – because AI is taking already existing things and just repurposing [them],” Mortlock explains.

    Kennedy also notes that while AI voices have struggled with non-American accents in the past, newer models are increasingly capable of replicating diverse accents, including Australian. This improvement is seen as both a technological advancement and a growing threat.

    Calls for Regulation and Fair Compensation

    The AAVA is pushing for regulations to ensure fair consent, control, and compensation for the use of AI-generated voices. This includes transparent disclosure when AI is used and fair compensation for actors whose voices are cloned. Mortlock has experienced firsthand the pitfalls of this unregulated space, claiming his voice was used without consent in an animation project after the initial work stopped.

    The association advocates for a framework where artists are paid fairly and have control over how their voices are used. Additionally, there are calls for taxing AI use in creative industries to ensure workers are compensated adequately.

    As AI continues to evolve, its impact on creative fields like voice acting becomes increasingly apparent. The current landscape, described by Mortlock as the “wild west,” underscores the urgent need for regulation to protect human talent and ensure ethical use of technology. The voice acting community, while not opposed to AI, seeks a balanced approach where innovation does not come at the cost of livelihoods and creativity.

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