Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Audiobook Narrators Out Of A Job

Smaller companies are predicted to leverage AI technology more and more in the coming years as a cost-cutting measure; however, industry experts believe that there will always be a place for human audio narrators due to nuances in voice and language.

By Ryan Clancy | Published

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With audiobooks increasing in popularity, the need for excellent audiobook narrators has skyrocketed. But companies have found another way to narrate audiobooks. Artificial intelligence has now taken the error out of book recording and the humanity it looks like. 

The audiobook market is set to be worth over 33 billion by the end of the decade. This boost in popularity comes from apps like audible but also people’s interest in podcasts of all varieties. Like everything popular today, it will not take companies long to introduce artificial intelligence into their production processes. 

While it is a new and shiny technology, there is a lot of anxiety and worry among people about artificial intelligence. People fear that companies will choose to use the technology over employing them, which in turn would make their place in the company void. Popular artificial intelligence apps can write pieces of information for a range of different disciplines; it should be noted that this is with varying degrees of success. 

With everything technology, the technology titans have been working on developing and refining audiobooks narrated by artificial intelligence, with Apple and Google at the forefront. They have a variety of characters, including male and female voices from different countries like Britain and Spain. 

With the leading companies that sell audiobooks preferring to use artificial intelligence for their books rather than humans, it has caused a lot of stress for full-time audiobook narrators. 

Audiobook narrators state that it is the humanity, emotion and imperfections that make them excellent at their jobs, and it is something that artificial intelligence characters just do not possess. They decide the character’s voice, and from that, the character comes alive. This is especially true for factor or children’s books. 

There is fear that the artificial intelligence character will not bring that intimacy to the book that a seasoned audiobook narrator could bring. While many artificial intelligence voices can sound quite convincing, many still have problems with delivery and pacing. 

While audiobook diehards may struggle to understand the introduction of robots to their books, for small publishers and authors, it can save them a lot of money by using artificial intelligence over an audiobook narrator. It could cost around $6,000 to hire an audiobook narrator, and it can take up to six hours to produce one hour of an audiobook, which also costs money. 

These fees are a lot of overheads before the book makes any profits, so unless you are a best-seller, if there is any way to reduce these costs to reach a wider reader audience, then small publishers will take them. There are also companies that just could not afford to produce an audiobook, and artificial intelligence may open that door for them. 

When opting to use artificial intelligence for audiobooks, many companies, like DeepZen, offer a service allowing customers to select a character from various voices. They ensure that the audiobook they produce is proof checked by humans and goes through multiple rounds of checking before being sent to the customer. So it seems like using artificial intelligence or human audiobook narrators still involves the use of humans, so at the moment, humans have not been replaced in the audiobook world.