Voice actors are outraged by demands to give their voice to artificial intelligence

Voice actors are increasingly being asked to sign over the rights to their voices so that clients can use artificial intelligence to create synthetic versions that can eventually replace them, sometimes for no additional compensation, rights groups say.

Those contractual obligations are just one of many concerns actors have about the rise of voice-generating AI, which they say threatens to push entire segments of the industry out of the job market.

The news underscores the impact of the growing AI-generated voice industry. Recently it was reported that how 4chan members took a beta version of a program from artificial voice company ElevenLabs and used it to create the voices of celebrities, including Emma Watson reading chapters from Mein Kampf. The implications for the audio industry are directly related to ElevenLabs’ work, as the company promotes its service as an option for games, movies, audiobooks, and more.

There are now many companies offering to clone, generate, or synthesize someone’s voice using artificial intelligence, and they all work pretty much the same way. Initially, users can record their voice using a script provided by the company. After recording a certain amount of audio, sometimes between 10 and 60 minutes, the company creates a replica of the user’s voice. Then they can write any arbitrary text, and the system will read it with a synthesized version of his own voice. The cost of these services is often very low.

Some websites also allow users to download previously recorded audio, which means it’s possible to copy other people’s recordings and then synthesize them without the person’s knowledge or consent.

It is reported that many dubbing actors may have signed the contract without knowing that such language had been added to it. There are also clauses in non-synthetic voice contracts that grant the rights to use the actor’s voice for training or to create a synthetic voice without any additional compensation or approval. Some actors are told they cannot be hired without agreeing to these clauses.

On its website, ElevenLabs says it wants to make multilingual audio on demand of the current state of affairs in education, streaming, audiobooks, games, movies, and even real-time conversations, and has the tools to deliver the quality you need for news, newsletters, books and video.