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Podcast Pontifications - Evo Terra EPISODE 21, 12th August 2020
Do Androids Dream Of Being On Your Podcast? [S3E21]

Do Androids Dream Of Being On Your Podcast? [S3E21]

Yesterday, Brian McCullough used Overdub to generate the last half of the Techmeme Ride Home episode for that day. It was an excellent side-by-side (or first-then-second) comparison of Brian’s actual voice and the Overdub recreated voice. It was eerily good.

But it wasn’t perfect. For advancements in this area, perfection is approached on an asymptotic curve, and the uncanny valley is quite deep. 

But it’s good enough for podcasters to make use of today without taking us humans out of the equation. Here’s how:

A New Podcast Ad Format - Beyond host-read, pre-produced, and producer-read ads, any podcast could effectively have a custom voice-over “person” ready to kick out ads at any time.

Customized Canned Content - Having “canned” intros and outros save time during the production process. But there’s a tradeoff for the convenience: they can’t be customized. Uness your voice talent is made of silicon, that is. Tweak the text a bit, feed it to the system, and you have episode-by-episode customizations to your intro, your outro, and any relevant parts in between. Best of all; they sound human. 

Localizing Podcast Episodes - How many more people could your podcast reach if it was available in a different language? So far, it’s taken a lot of money and time to localize podcast content. But if your voice-talent pool is silicon-based, you can spend all of your time getting the localized script perfect in that language, and leave it to the system to generate the audio.

Non-Critical Narrative Bits - Sometimes, a solo-effort narrative episode would be made better if there were other voices were adding color to portions of the episode that otherwise sound “flat”. Can you give those bits to the AI to have a convincingly-human voice on those instead of yours? 

Giving Voice To NPCs In Podcast Fiction - At the risk of being accused of taking money out of the mouths of hard-working voice actors, some of small, single-line parts in a podcast fiction story could be synthesized on smaller productions that lack the budget to pay for a narrator on every single part. 

I have no plans of turning Podcast Pontifications over to an android anytime soon. I’d lose a big part of my daily therapy if I did that! Nor do I think you should worry (or dream) about this tech getting so good that your own voice is no longer required. But if you decide to use an AI as your co-host, I totally want to listen.


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Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is designed to make podcasting better, not just easier.