the ConversAItion: Season 1 Episode 4

Casting Voices of AI

In this episode, Jim explores the role of AI in voice casting with Jim Kennelly, owner of Lotas Productions, an audio recording studio that offers services in casting, directing and recording. They discuss everything from finding the right voice for all kinds of media to the growing importance of voice in creating meaningful connections between people and technology.

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“We always make the comparison between AI coming into society the way radio came into society in the late 20s, early 30s. [With radio,] they had this new technology that everybody knew worked, but the problem became: what do we do with it? There was a generation of men and women who built the foundation of [the radio] industry, and that’s the influence AI is having now – it’s giving a rebirth to the voiceover business.”
headshot of Jim Kennelly

About Jim Kennelly

Jim is the owner of Lotas Productions, an audio recording studio in NYC’s Flatiron District that serves as a one-stop shop for voiceover casting, directing and recording. He has over 30 years experience in finding the right voice for all kinds of media. Jim believes that voice actors are uniquely positioned to help UI designers create meaningful connections between people and technology. Follow Jim on Twitter @VO_Kennelly.

Short on time? Here are 4 quick takeaways:

  1. Speed and real-time access to data are the biggest game-changers in the voiceover industry right now.

    In the fast-paced world of media, the voiceover industry increasingly relies on real-time data insights to gauge the potency of commercials, campaigns and interfaces, and adjust audio features accordingly.

    As access to data becomes a key brand differentiator, businesses are using short segments to engage consumers with data-driven content across social media platforms.

  2. Voiceover actors are uniquely suited to build brand voices for authentic communication.

    Voice assistants have evolved into brand personas or “sonic identities,” designed to create a more personalized relationship between brand and customer. Consumers expect voice interfaces to not only interact with them through natural dialogue, but also replicate the nuances of human conversation.

    In a 2018 article, Jim explores how sonic identities like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa have emerged to bring technology and humanity closer together. To accomplish this goal, the voiceover community now shares their artistic expertise with engineers to create powerful interactions with AI technology.

  3. AI provides the voiceover industry with the critical ability to anticipate and adapt to audience needs.

    Prior to the 2000s, the world of voice was dominated by deep male announcers and iconic advertising campaigns like “When EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.” Over the last ten years, the industry has shifted focus to conversational dialogue and now “specs,” the nitty-gritty details of a voice experience. 

    Today, brands rely on user data and iterative prototyping to design an AI personality that reflects first and foremost the consumer who’s using it.

  4. While voice technology continues to transform human-to-machine interactions, it will not displace voice actors in the process.

    Voice technology requires a powerful combination of art and science, human and machine. Though their roles may change, voice actors will always be needed to develop personalities and create the illusion of a human conversation.

Check out more episodes of The ConversAItion.