Yesterday, during the WWDC Keynote, Apple unveiled the new Siri.
Did you hear it?
Last year while moderating a panel discussion at a voice over conference, J Michael Collins asked each of the panelists for their thoughts on the state of voice over in the next 5-10 years. I said that I was keeping on eye on text-to-speech and the technology involved in powering virtual assistants like Siri or Cortana.
A couple years ago, I consistently made money voicing real estate virtual tours. Then one day, one of my regular clients stopped calling. They began using a computer generated voice. It sounded absolutely awful… but to their point… it was free!
I can’t compete with free.
The Rise of Text-to-Speech
My point, in this particular panel, was that as text-to-speech technology improves, I fully expect more and more people are going to begin using it as an inexpensive alternative to hiring a professional voice actor.
Will it ever replace the human voice entirely? Hopefully not while I’m still working.
Is it something we need to keep an eye on as an industry in the coming years? Absolutely!
Yesterday, when Apple played the new Siri, this only hit home for me even more.
In the new and improved Siri, which will be part of the upcoming OS release in the Fall, Siri now has the ability to speak with basic expressiveness. Thanks to machine learning advances, Siri can have a level of emotion.
That’s scary stuff for voice actors!
To me, that says the advancement in this technology is inevitable.
Is is going to start popping up on national commercial campaigns? Doubtful.
Could this technology be deployed in a genre like eLearning? I think it could!
As I said, we’re not there yet. But it may be closer than we think… or closer than we want to think about!
Check out this clip to hear the new Siri and share your thoughts in the comments below.