Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 17, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Arts & Lit Putting the ‘A’, ‘I’, into Audiobooks

Putting the ‘A’, ‘I’, into Audiobooks

Online Arts and Lit Editor, Ariane Joudrey, explores Chinese search engine, Sogou's, use of AI in creating audiobooks.
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Online Arts and Lit Editor, Ariane Joudrey, explores Chinese search engine Sogou’s use of AI in creating audiobooks.

Pixabay: user Geralt

In today’s society, the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is becoming increasingly prevalent. Despite it being used to make our lives more efficient, it is earning a reputation as also being almost disturbingly familiar. 

Chinese search engine Sogou is taking it one step further.

Traditionally, audio-books are recorded either by the author of a book themselves, or by a recognised reader. Somebody will go in a studio vocal booth and read the book aloud. However, in a push to make this process, faster, cheaper and more efficient, Sogouis creating artificial-intelligence robots to read popular novels in the voices of their authors, cutting costs by an estimated 90%. 

The robots not only sound like the author, but they are made to look like the author too. They are constructed from video recording of famous authors. Some of the author-AIs created so-far as famous Chinese authors such as Yue Guan and Bu Xin Tian Shang Diao Xian Bing. The search engine creators have no only formed these ‘authors’ but they have also launch AI newsreaders. 

Technological advances mean that digitised voices are beginning to sound increasingly life-like, perhaps to a point that we will no longer be able to tell the difference.

Perhaps this truly is the future in distribution of information. AI is not only efficient, but it is also non-biased and is not subject to human error or emotion. Thus, AI robots will be able to do the job of a newsreader probably much better than news readers themselves. This advancement is also evident in other forms of journalism. Sports articles are beginning to be written by AI machines as they are able to report scores and statistics mechanically, without much verification from a human. If this is truly where technology is progressing, is raises the question as to whether humans will really be needed in the journalism industry in the future? Even in the manufacturing industry? So, is it really robots who are taking our jobs? 

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