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Well, I never saw myself as a busker, sitting outside train stations whilst singing songs for people's loose change, and I hope I never have to (for their benefit as well as my own!).

However, this Christmas, many talented voice artists will find themselves out of work, living in poverty because their (some decades-old) businesses have been forced into  closure because of a product that was invented to solve a problem which never even existed: AI voices.

You can hear my views on AI voices in the first episode of The EI Podcast, which takes an emotionally-intelligent look at how artificial intelligence, a technology that could improve the human race, could, in fact, end up destroying it. So far, I've lost 25% of my clients because of it, and there are far fewer voice jobs available this year than ever before. Even if AI hasn't destoyed the human race yet, it certainly appears to be hell-bent on destroying my business, and it's already destroyed the careers of thousands.

I had a career-long ambition - no, a life-long ambition - to be a voiceover artist. In 1978, I was obsessed with voices, whether it was RIchard Burton narrating "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds", Yorkshire Television continuity announcer Redvers Kyle starting the day with "Good morning, this is Yorkshire Television, part of the Independent Broadcasting Authority" or the BBC's John Marsh, heralding the start of another episode of the sci-fi comedy that truly made me fall in love with radio, with "Radio 4. It's 20 past 7" (music fades in - "Journey of the Sorcerer by The Eagles) "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy... by Douglas Adams... starring Peter Jones... as... The Book". It was exquisitely timed, with each pause polished to perfection, drawing you in to 25 minutes of something truly magical.

In 1978, I was 6 years old. So why do I remember all of this in so much detail? Why, if I close my eyes, will I be able to hear those voices, as if they were right here with me, right now?

 

Why, if I'm feeling stressed or lonely, or disconnected from the world around me, do I listen to The Shipping Forecast or A Book at Bedtime?

 

Why, when I want to be motivated into doing something about something for which I feel passionately, do I trawl YouTube for thought-provoking user-generated content, or listen to Marr, O'Brien and Ferrari on LBC?

 

I'll tell you why: it's because they're human, and there's something comforting, reassuring, stimulating, motivating and simply appealing in the sound of the human voice.

 

Yes, there's something very human about the human voice, but you still can't say the same for an AI voice.
 

Now, after all that reminiscing, with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, it is with a heavy heart indeed, that I ask for your support.

 

Please click here to make a donation. No matter how small it is, I'll be truly grateful, because you'll be making it possible for me to continue running my business in the belief that, one day, things will improve, people will get bored of AI and return to the warmth and comfort of the human voice.

Most importantly, you'll be helping to fund further awareness of the negative cost of unregulated artificial intelligence, as I'll be able to invest more time in making more of these podcasts and getting them properly and professionally promoted to the right audiences across all the right channels. Thank you.

Saving money isn't everything, not when it's at the risk of destroying an entire industry, an industry that, once we've lost it, will never return.

Voiceover artists are hard-working people, many with their own families to support, all of them passionate about their work. These are people who spent years learning, improving and fine-tuning their talent, investing hard-earned money in new technology to make sure they weren't left behind as technology advancements were made, equipment prices started to drop and the voiceover industry became more accessible than ever before.

Some technology advancements, nobody expected...

The rise of 'beer money creative' websites not only forced down the rates voices once charged, but they also had (and still have) a total disregard for the fees structures which were once in-place. Then, the COVID-19 lockdowns saw thousands more (untrained) voices appear out of nowhere, and as they were approved by these very same websites who listed them as professionals,  fees were driven lower than ever, as the industry rate card was consigned to the bin, and to history.

Then, along came the ultimate advancement, and our worst nightmare: AI voices...

No one could have foreseen the rise of the artificially-intelligent voice. Given almost every single one of the inhabitants of planet Earth has a voice, there was never going to be a shortage, therefore we never even foresaw the need for AI voices and there's still no need for them now.

 

Even the late Professor Stephen Hawking, when asked if he wanted an AI voice, replied "no, because it doesn't sound like me".

And you don't even have to listen that closely, to realise that AI voices, with their total lack of empathy, understanding, humility and humanity, don't really sound like anyone, certainly like no man or woman I know.

Thank you for your support.

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Dan Akers

Voice Artist, Composer, Producer

Owner, Danmade Content

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