Nothing compares to curling up with a riveting audiobook read by someone like Juliet Stevenson, George Guidall, or Stephen Fry.
Will humans continue to be the most-loved storytellers in the future or will robots end up ruling this industry as well?
Apple has quietly released a selection of books with artificial intelligence-narrated narration, so it is evident that it believes there is a demand for the latter, reported the Daily Mail.
This new feature is just the beginning of the tough competition with companies like Spotify and Amazon for a market that experts project could be worth more than $35 billion (£29 billion) by 2030.
The robotic, artificial character of Apple’s AI voices makes it clear that they won’t be taking the place of Fry’s warm, dulcet tones anytime soon, but as the technology advances, they might eventually sound more human-like.
The robot-voiced audiobooks, which employ text-to-speech translation, can be found by searching for “AI narration” in the Books app on Apple devices.
This displays a list of romantic or fiction books that are “narrated by computerised voice based on a human narrator” and are available for both free and paid downloads.
There are two different AI voice types to pick from and they both have an American accent and only speak English.
Madison is a soprano and Jackson is a baritone; however, two more voices, Helena, and Mitchell will soon be available for non-fiction publications.
The tech giant, as per the outlet’s report, claimed that it produced high-quality audiobooks from ebook files using the sophisticated speech synthesis technology it had created.
Those who support AI-narrated audiobooks believe it might provide publishers and authors with a new market if they had previously been unable to finance switching from print to audio.
With Apple suggesting that digital narration technology will make authoring audiobooks more accessible, this might therefore result in a significant increase in the number of audiobooks that are available to readers.
The Guardian claims that Apple contacted independent publishers to inquire about their interest in collaborating on the undertaking.
The company reportedly informed authors that the business behind the technology would cover the costs of turning their novels into audiobooks and that they would receive royalties despite keeping its involvement a secret.
Additionally, according to Apple’s website, publishers and authors retain the right to create additional audiobook editions.
Contrary to rival Amazon, whose Audible regulations specifically say that submitted audiobooks “must be narrated by a human,” the company has a different stance on automated narration.
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