“Hey, Siri do you know The Simpsons?”
Technology & the Art of Conversation
Imagine watching an episode of “The Simpsons” the legendary American animated sitcom by the Fox Broadcasting Company. What if the creator, Matt Groening, replaced the original voice of actor Harry Shearer with Artificial Intelligence software like Siri and let Siri do the entire voice-over for the video? Will the show be able to hold on to its iconic identity then? That is a debate we can save for later.
Robotic voices have been around for a while. Today, AI voice technology has become a critical part of our lives. You must have encountered customer service technologies that feature bot voice assistants that can hold a decent conversation with you. Apart from that, we also see Alexa, Siri, and Hey Google, a few technologies that have seen exponential growth with the rise in online content consumption.
In the film, we see Joaquin Phoenix’s character in a near-future setting where he develops an affinity toward an artificially intelligent virtual assistant. The virtual assistant’s voice was that of a woman the actor Scarlett Johansson voiced. The movie released in 2013 was almost a prophecy for the things to come.
Many digital operating systems are progressively adopting AI voice technology to speed up and ease user communication. However, consumers want to communicate with digital characters which have a soul and personality, making the interaction more exciting. Can you imagine an OS voice done by Scarlett Johansson? Wouldn’t that be great? But, let’s not divert ourselves and instead focus more on AI! What goes behind AI voice technology and why it matters so much are some questions we must address! Let’s jump to our next segment, where we can roughly understand the technology behind these AI products.
As mentioned in the section above, AI or synthetic voice software has been around for a while. But they weren’t as good as they are now. The technological advancements in deep learning have allowed developers to replicate the intricacies of human speech with great precision. These systems are experiencing a higher performance because of the momentum “deep learning technology” has gained. That is why a new wave of startups is utilising synthetic voice technology to build corporate tutorials, software solutions, video games, digital assistants, etc.
During the inception of this technology, synthetic or AI voices sounded robotic, monotonous, and awkward. All it was just words glued together to make a sentence sound decent. Nowadays, the picture is different. Today, developers can develop voice technologies that deliver natural pacing, good pronunciation, and emotion. With the help of AI, machines can also decipher and recognise the right patterns, styles, pauses, and tones. These features make AI voice technology a value-adding proposition.
Secondly, AI voice technology is cheaper, scalable, and easy to implement. You don’t have to record a real VO actor again and again to develop the synthetic voice. With features like Audio Deep Learning and Automatic Speech Recognition, businesses can dub their script in real-time, allowing them to personalise their ads or product modules.
Does that mean that hyperrealistic AI voices will affect the livelihoods of human voice actors? Let’s learn more.
Today, almost every business understands how challenging it can be to engage existing customers or attract new potential clients. The market is extremely competitive as consumers interact with more than a dozen brands daily on different platforms. Achieving success in such a scenario is difficult. Hence, brands and businesses need a more agile approach to create advertisements that resonate well with modern-day shoppers.
Consumers on the internet have loads of exposure to ads due to this competition. Therefore, more advertisers are finding ways to get their brand message to their customers. This is the space where they rely on audio ads. Audio ads on the internet utilise voice-over to deliver a message. Ads like these usually have a still image or motion poster over the screen with a targeted or personalised voice-over.
Such ads can reach thousands of shoppers or clients at once! They can be deployed to multiple platforms and help the brand develop an emotional connection with the audience. Today, many audio platforms offer ads with a premium listening experience. A couple of them provide a lucrative ROI to advertisers. For instance, Spotify’s advertising team reveals that 81% of listeners on the platform take action after hearing an audio ad during a podcast.
The data further reveals different actions of the listeners after listening to the ad. Listeners tap on the banner to search for a product online, connect with a new brand, or share the content with their loved ones. These user actions allow the brand to boost customer engagement and acquisition.
Apart from Spotify, YouTube is another giant platform where marketers run voice-over ads. YouTube audio ads offer a new marketing tool for brands to drive users’ attention as many Youtube listeners treat the platform as an auditory platform for podcasts, lectures, songs, etc. These ads also offer many bidding and targeting options as campaigns.
The platform has over 122 million active users daily. Hence, it is critical for marketers to make sure that their voice-over ads are crisp, clear, and engaging. The correct approach can help them grow rapidly! AI technology can also help marketers mimic a real human’s pronunciation, timbre, and tone of voice. Due to this reason, they can connect better with their audiences. Therefore, these features make AI-voice audio ads more engaging while allowing marketers to leverage hyper-personalised messaging.
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