The big existential fear on everyone’s mind used to be losing our jobs to AI. All that changed when the pandemic hit and millions faced job losses that had nothing to do with automation.
For many, the best solution to their COVID-related work problems was to turn to the freelance or “gig-based” economy. This led to a huge increase in the value of companies that specialize in connecting customers with freelancers, and Fiverr, an Israel-based company, was no exception.
But the tides are turning and workers are returning to the office. This has caused some cautious pessimism in the market and even Fiverr, whose shares peaked last year, is not immune to the effects.
To keep things moving in the right direction, the company is rolling out innovative new solutions that it believes will keep workers and their customers on the shelf in the post-COVID era.
Perhaps most interesting among these new solutions is Fiverr’s “AI Auditions,” a tool powered by machine learning that synthesizes human speech so that actors can audition for voice roles asynchronously.
In the front: Fiverr’s new tool is a director’s dream come true (if it works). It’s only offered for use by a select group of workers, so there’s not much to say about its effectiveness so far.
According to a company press release, the process is simple:
Voice-over artists on Fiverr can create their own AI voices by quickly training the voice audition engine. Customers will then be able to easily access the Fiverr marketplace to “try out” a voiceover artist’s voice without having to contact them first or ask for an audition.
After typing a sentence or two of their script into a text box on the artist’s Fiverr profile, the AI will read the language out loud, in the voice of the dubbing artist, giving them an idea of whether that person’s voice it will work or not for your project.
Bottom: Fiverr claims that this is a huge problem that needs to be fixed. According to a testimonial included in the AI Auditions press release, the process of recording and submitting voice samples for auditions can be tedious and time-consuming.
The main benefits of AI Auditions would be a unique training cycle and the ability for directors to hear actors speak any line.
For actors, the unique training cycle means they can budget for a short period of time when their voice is in peak condition, and then let the machine take care of the rest of the tedium that comes with the first round of auditions.
And talent seekers can simply generate custom audition clips at their leisure, saving them the time of waiting for updated audition files.
Quick shot: On the one hand, this sounds like a game changer for people who just want to work and hire agents trying to find the perfect voice for a limited time project.
On the other hand, it sounds like a dystopian nightmare.
The problem is that AI Auditions sounds too good to be true. If it’s robust enough to be useful, i.e. the audio quality is solid and it truly represents the unique voice of a specific human actor, then it will probably be incredibly tempting for suspicious agents to abuse.
Looking at this from the point of view of a starving artist or project coordinator trying to do their best work, it seems like a blessing.
But Fiverr is going to have this particular garden wall to prevent bad agents from simply writing the entire script in the AI and recording everything it spits out without paying the original human actor for their work.
There’s a decent chance that Fiverr’s AI won’t be able to generate Oscar-worthy voice acting performances, but that’s not going to matter for every project out there.
That said, if Fiverr succeeds in keeping the data secret and institutes some kind of watermarking or other measures that prevent intellectual theft…this could level the playing field for voice actors who are more passionate about their craft than they are. time for auditions.