We all saw it. We, the entire voiceover community. We, being the relevant word here, as I suspect a little communal trickle was expelled across the ISDN network.
I’m talking about that YouTube clip, promoting the natty bit of software that takes your recorded voice and, just by typing in some new words, can tweak what you said. You know, the ‘photoshop for audio’.
What is this witchcraft? And who must we burn?
I’ve always smugly assumed voiceovering to be immune to the tide of automation. And now, here’s the first inkling of a future where machines might just be able to make a decent fist of reading out-loud.
OK. So before we all go get real jobs, in reality, the software needs at least a couple of hours of a real person speaking in order to work, and it’s only successful when you amend short phrases. But even this is a little bit terrifying. Let’s be honest, we rely on those fudge-ups, script amends and re-voices. That shit pays the interest on our mortgages!
The software also raises a more troubling question of recorded audio being used in nefarious ways. In the video clip, they tellingly demonstrate the software by altering the unremarkable words, “I kissed my wife,” to the more problematic, “I kissed Jordan,” to the delight of the audience.
But, just think… from now on, you may not be able to trust that people in the public eye have actually said what you heard them say. I can think of a couple of politicians who would love to play that game.
I read recently that some scientists are estimating that a third of jobs currently performed by human beings will be done by robots within the next 10 years.
Imagine that. An army of fastidious C3P0s, sent down the Job Centre to find work. Soon you’ll be sitting across from one in your office. You’ll make a quiet, offhand remark like, “Geoff’s put on a bit of timber ‘asn’t he?” Only to be confronted with, “Protocol violation! personal remark! Infringement of statute 7: 19A . Your offence has been logged and circulated…. and… you’re hardly rocking a six pack yourself.”
10 F-ing years?
Mmmm. Probably ought to start paying off that mortgage.