So what happens when Artificial Intelligence becomes smart enough to replicate human speech? You use it in games when you can’t afford to actually hire good voice actors. But the problem comes when the AI is as good as a decent voice actor. A similar thing happened when a mod was released for the game of the year 2015, The Witcher 3. Go play the trilogy if you still have not.
The modder released an unofficial update to the popular game which while a good addition for fans raised some eyebrows. The modder’s handle is nikish340 and they trained an AI algorithm using voice data of the game’s lead voice actor Doug Cockle. Doug Cockle is known for his exceptional performance as Geralt, the Witcher series’ main character. The trained AI model made up all new lines in the voice of the said actor.
This development has caused controversies to flair up after voice actors have realized that AI might be threatening their livelihood. Training an AI model to voice characters might just be cheaper for game studios than hiring a team of voice actors. Many voice actors told reporters that they’re nervous that game studios might try to replace them with sophisticated algorithms in order to save a few bucks.
This problem isn’t only isolated to the gaming industry. It is a big concern in almost any industry where AI-powered solutions could replace manpower. Having an AI spit out dialogue for a game character means that the game studio won’t need as many voice actors anymore.
Video game voice actor Jay Britton was also shaken when he heard the news about the mod. He tweeted about his thoughts saying that “If this is true, this is just heartbreaking”. And it is, voice actors essentially breathe life into a character which an AI can’t do. But since AI voice acting will be ‘good enough’ it will hurt the voice acting market. You can read his tweet below.
Some game studios are already using AI technology. CD Projekt Red used AI technology to replicate facial animations. Obsidian uses AI to listen to the dialogue before they have the actual actor voice the lines. Kind of like storyboarding. But there may come a time when the AI will be good enough and the voice actor won’t be needed.