The world of artificial intelligence is speeding up. And to some, it might be going a bit too fast and loose with its own tech innovations and the rules governing itself.

However, while there legitimate arguments and concerns to be made about copyrighted work and where AI algorithms are pulling their learnings and data from, there’s a whole ‘nother world about to open regarding the use of AI-powered celebrities and performances.

Similar to many of the core AI concerns expressed in the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes (which you can support here), a future of AI-powered actors and celebrity content is about to be here. And, in the world of AI news reading, it already is.

Let’s look at Artifact, the news app from Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and its new AI-powered text-to-speech features which lets users hear their selected news stories read by celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Gwyeth Paltrow — plus explore what this could mean for the future of voice over and other video possibilities.

Artifact AI Celebrity News Reading

Yup, you read that right. As part of Artifact’s partnership with a company called Speechify, users of this new media news app will be able to hand-pick which celebrity voices they want to read them the news of the day.

Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow lead the group, but according to the company’s website, users will be able to choose from over 30 English language voices to read their selected news stories day in and day out.

This new feature is live and available on iOS (with Android reportedly coming soon) and includes all the usual news or podcast features like speed controls and background listening options. But how does it work?

AI-Powered Text-to-Speech

Now, AI powered text-to-speech isn’t completely new technology. In fact, we’ve seen text-to-speech functions in different scripting writing apps for reading and editing for some time. And, in the world of AI, text-based editing has been making waves for several months being added to apps like DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere Pro.

However, we haven’t quite seen this level of sophistication and partnership with actual celebrities to allow for such open-ended use. Yet, even this Artifact and Speechify news is still limited in several key capacities. Namely, it’s only used currently for news reading of already published articles (presumably) by trusted sources.

And, more importantly, it’s only currently meant for private consumption and listening.

The Future of AI Voice Over

What’s most fascinating about this news isn’t about what it’s doing today but rather about what’s going to happen tomorrow. While this Speechify tech is admittedly a work in progress (and from the few samples, it’s not the greatest just yet), it’s a significant first step in what will inevitably follow.

AI-powered custom text-to-speech is on the horizon. And for those working in voice-over industries and any type of video content that uses VO, this is going to be a major game changer. Once a company (like Speechify, for example) unlocks the tech and secures the rights with their represented celebrities, who’s to say you won’t be able to have Snoop Dogg narrate your short film or television commercial if you pay the right fees?

AI is set to revolutionize many industries in and adjacent to film and video production. Yet with so many tech innovations seeming a bit far-fetched at the moment, this news from Artifact signifies that this VO industry is set to change very soon.