Conversations are growing louder about generative AI and what it means for artists and creators. Applications like ChatGPT and Lensa AI have pushed this technology into the mainstream, opening the doors to a new era of content creation. While AI-based technologies have been present in our everyday life for some time (yes, Alexa and Siri are both AIs), advancements in generative AI have completely rocked the boat and forced people to consider what widespread adoption of this technology means for their career.
Generative AI, as defined by the World Economic Forum, refers to a category of AI algorithms that can generate new outputs based on the data they have been trained on. Outputs of generative AI can include voice, audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos.
The novelty in these algorithms lies here: where established models of AI are skilled at synthesizing and analyzing data to identify patterns, programs such as ChatGPT have the ability to create completely new content in response to questions. The ability to create entirely new images, audio, pieces of writing, and videos is something that up until now, we really only saw humans do.
We surveyed hundreds of creatives–from video producers, to content creators, social media managers, and more–to gauge their sentiments on how they feel generative AI will affect them, and the advertising industry overall and create a list of AI voice statistics. We found that while there is excitement for new tools and opportunities, many are equally concerned about making sure things are done the right way.
At a Glance:
- AI: A Revolutionary Tool in the Creative’s Toolkit
- The Three C’s: A Blueprint to an Ethical Approach
- When it Comes to Content Creation, a Human Touch is Still the Preference
AI: A Revolutionary Tool in the Creative’s Toolkit
AI is our familiar friend
Though the AI conversation might be new to many people, AI-based tools have held a spot in the creative space for a long time now. In fact, 57% of creatives said they already use AI-based tools for their work. This number might actually be higher, as many creatives may not even know they use AI on a consistent basis.
Have you ever used photoshop to remove an unwanted item from a picture? You likely would have used AI. Have you ever needed a written transcription pulled from an audio file, or auto-generated captions for your video? AI likely helped you with that too.
For professionals and hobbyists alike, the adoption of AI into creative tools has cut down time spent on tedious tasks. From things like image stabilization and color grading in video, to object selection when editing photos, without a doubt, most digital creatives have used AI tools in one way or another.
Generative AI is a bit different than these tools though, as it appears to be able to create completely brand new content. Despite this, creatives don’t feel too threatened by its presence–many actually believe that AI developments have the ability to create new jobs in their industry.
We found that:
- Two-thirds of creatives believe AI developments will actually create new job opportunities in their industry.
- When asked which tasks are the most likely to be adopted by AI, respondents said audio transcription, photo editing and social media scheduling and publishing, and audio editing.
- Filming or video recording, brand development and strategic content planning were cited as the tasks least likely to be adopted by AI.
Likelihood of AI Adopting Creative Tasks
Technology Creates Novel Ways of Working
What’s behind this optimism? According to Hubspot, the creator economy has more than doubled its size since 2019, sitting at an estimated $104.2 billion. Advancements in technology can make creative outlets accessible in ways that might not have been in the past. For example, camera technology in mobile phones have made video content easily available, and we don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into professional video equipment to create content that people will consume.
Creators anticipate more change, maybe for the better: Over 75% believe generative AI has the potential to enhance human creativity. Evolutions in technology and the media landscape have allowed many to succeed in ways they never would have imagined, and creators are eager to see what’s next.
The Three C’s: a Blueprint to an Ethical Approach
Despite the Excitement, Creatives Care About Doing this the Right Way
Though optimistic, creatives are still wary about potential AI disruption. Over 80% of respondents believe that within five years, AI will change core functions of their job, and almost 50% said they were concerned about AI taking over significant elements of their job.
When we dove deeper, we found that the levels of concern differ between age demographics. Younger ages tend to be more worried about AI taking over than their older counterparts. Check out these stats:
- Overall, 42% said they believe significant elements of their job can be taken over by AI.
- Nearly one third of creatives aged 18-34 said they were ‘very concerned’ about AI taking over their job.
- But for creatives aged 35-44, less than 20% said they felt ‘very concerned’ about AI taking over their job. One third of respondents in this age group said they had no concerns at all about AI taking on elements of their job.
Doing it right: the Three C’s
While there’s a lot to be excited about, there’s also a lot to be cautious about when thinking about the use and ethics around generative AI.
A significant area of concern is the use of existing creative data to train algorithms. Was the data used to train AI models–whether it’s pieces of writing, images, art, voices–sourced in an ethical way? Did its proprietary owners consent to its use to train AI models? And thinking ahead, are all future outputs–the photographs we take, art we upload, content we create–are they all up for grabs to be fed to the AI machine?
Understandably, creators are concerned about their creative works and data being used without their permission to train these algorithms. A majority (82%) believe content creators should be credited for content of theirs that was used to train an AI model.
As developments move into unregulated territory, it’s the responsibility of parties involved to ensure that the use of these tools is carried out in a way that is ethical, and maintains the dignity of all involved. When it comes to the relationship between the creatives and the organizations using their data, the Three C’s are an excellent guideline to keep in mind:
The creator needs to give explicit consent to a platform or company to have their data used, and there should also be clarity on how their data is used. In the case of voice over, the voice over artist should know that their voice is being used to train an AI, ultimately to create an AI voice. They should ensure that their voice will be used in ways they deem appropriate, and words that their clone is expected to say will align with their personal values.
Creators should be credited for work and data of theirs that are used to train these algorithms.
Creators should be compensated for work and data of theirs that are used to train these algorithms. For voice over artists, compensation might be arranged on a per project basis, or if providing a branded AI voice for one company, remuneration on an annual contract, with terms around the licensing and use of the voice.
Generative AI gets particularly touchy when it comes to AI voices or voice clones. AI-generated text is one thing, but to hear your voice, in your likeness, re-created by an AI? With the voice over industry, holding organizations and leaders accountable to the Three C’s is highly critical.
When it comes to content creation, a human touch is still necessary
Even though generative AI is advancing at a rapid pace, we’re not relying on AI to make the majority of our content just yet. This is especially true in the voice industry, where creators still have a preference for real human voices.
A large majority (85%) believe AI-generated content will reach a point where it is indistinguishable from human-made content. While this might be the case for other outputs of generative AI, it hasn’t reached that point yet with AI voices. Almost 60% of creatives said they have not yet used an AI voice yet, and just over one third said that was because an AI voice was still too robotic.
Many creatives have started to dabble with AI voices, though: Over 40% have used an AI voice or text-to-speech service to create a voice over recording. Speed of access is the top reason for going the robot route; of those that have used an AI voice, almost half said they needed a voice they could instantly download. Let’s look at statistics for how people are using AI in 2023.
But there’s a bit more to the story. While creatives are dabbling with AI voices, they are still very much in the exploration stage with this technology. When asked to elaborate on their use of an AI voice, respondents said they used it for a demo, experimented with it for learning purposes, or used it as placeholder audio until a proper voice was recorded.
So, fret not voice over artists. Unless a robotic voice is specifically sought after, the use of an AI voice in creative projects functions largely as a first pass for a proof of concept. Creatives aren’t ready to have an AI be the final voice for their project, except for when the circumstances actually call for it.
It should be noted though, AI voices are already used in many ways. In areas where the content is brief and dynamic, an AI or voice clone is more practical than having a human voice recorded for every potential word or phrase needed. Navigation systems are a great use case for an AI voice–it would be an enormous project to have a voice over artist record every single street, avenue, highway, or driving instruction on Google Maps.
We found that the most popular types of projects that used an AI voice were e-Learning, followed by gaming, and paid media.
When looking ahead, it’s hard to predict which direction this will go in. From this report, we’ve uncovered a few key learnings:
- The human voice is not easily replaced: while areas like copywriting might be a bit easier for AI to adopt, at this point, the human element that is attached to voice over is still something that creators are not ready to have AI take on.
- Ethical concerns are top priority: Creators want to ensure that they will not be taken advantage of, and technology is developed in an ethical way.
- Creatives will always be curious: Despite anticipated disruptions to the job market, creatives still see potential opportunities in these developments, and are eager to experiment and learn.
A lot is happening, and it’s happening fast. But the media landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, and seasoned creators will know what it means to pivot and adapt.
Voices deployed a qualitative survey targeting registered client users of Voices, ranging in industries from advertising, broadcast media, entertainment, film, education, and training. The survey looked to understand how creatives are responding to rapid advancements in generative AI. 336 respondents completed the survey in full.
Voices is the world’s #1 voice marketplace with over 4 million registered users. Since 2005, the biggest and most beloved brands have entrusted Voices to help them find professionals to bring their projects to life. Voices has worked with major clients including Shopify, Microsoft, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, Hulu, Cisco, the biggest ad agencies and thousands more small businesses.