The Balance between Innovation, Ethics, and Responsibility

"What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other." Vocoda.ai founder and CIO at Ambassadors, Diederik Veelo, weighs in.

The Balance between Innovation, Ethics, and Responsibility

"What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other." Vocoda.ai founder and CIO at Ambassadors, Diederik Veelo, weighs in.

The Balance between Innovation, Ethics, and Responsibility

"What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other." Vocoda.ai founder and CIO at Ambassadors, Diederik Veelo, weighs in.

Not long ago, I stood on one of the many stages at SXSW to talk about AI and Voice. As I discussed the technical possibilities, legal limitations, and ethical responsibilities, the EU published its most recent AI Act. It could not have been a more relevant moment as international legislation regarding AI applications is rapidly evolving.


With the recent Aldi news, the discussion around AI and ethics was reignited. And rightly so; voice-over artists are concerned, the creative industry is uncertain about what it can and cannot do, and most brands hesitate, mainly to avoid being held responsible for improper AI use. It's a hot topic, and it will likely remain so for a while.


You can have many opinions about the quality of the Aldi voice, but in my opinion, the Aldi case does one thing well, and that is one of the most important aspects we need to consider within AI regulation, namely, housing the source material used. By using the voices of Aldi employees, who have explicitly approved it, at least the rights are ensured.


But fortunately, Aldi is not alone in this. Ambassadors has been working on artificial intelligence for over five years. In the Ambassadors Lab team, we work hard every day to perfect digital voices in multiple languages for international clients such as Booking.com and N26. My colleague and namesake Diederik van Middelkoop (Co-ECD and partner of Ambassadors) recorded over 40 hours of speech back in 2019 to replicate his voice bilingually and to explore where the technical difficulties lie. After recently joining forces, we know better than anyone what is currently possible, where it needs to go, and how we actively participate in it.


For example, we closely collaborate with our voice-over artists to define buyouts based on traditional agreements so that the artists themselves can co-define the terms for how their voices are used. The relationship between a brand and the voice-over artist is not replaced by a platform at our company, making AI an extension of the artist, rather than a replacement. I dare say that Ambassadors is at the forefront of AI in the creative market in the Netherlands. We're not used to saying that because we naturally prefer to do rather than talk, but the fact that Ambassadors has developed its own AI environment within the Cube platform since 2020 underscores our commitment.


With the Vocoda.ai label, Ambassadors works on digital voices for the advertising industry as well as technical solutions for the medical world, especially for people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This terrible disease sometimes results in dysarthria, a condition where speech is affected because the signals from the brain no longer reach the muscles. You can imagine how, with the loss of someone's speech, a part of their personality is also lost. After all, what makes us 'us' is our ability to freely express ourselves.


But digital voices are not new. Stephen Hawking, who also suffered from ALS, has been using speech computers since 1986, and his flawed computer voice is now inseparably linked to the personality he was. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, and now that we can reconstruct someone's own voice using AI, it can make a huge difference in acceptance, both for the patient and for family and friends, and thus serve as an emotional tool. A digital voice no longer needs to sound like a computer, so it no longer needs to be seen as a handicap.


What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other. There's much to gain for brands and voices: A service center of a major insurer can, in principle, welcome and assist customers with the same voice as in the commercial. That strengthens the power and consistency of the brand. That same voice can also be used in German and Spanish without the voice-over actor mastering the language, for a fee, of course. But that is both a practical solution and a source of income that did not exist before.


And what we must realize in the discussion about AI is that the entire world is currently undergoing a technological transformation. Every notable technology company is working on AI development. There is not a single university that has not included AI in its curriculum. The world is closer than ever to developing machines that can learn at a fundamental level as we do.


So, as far as I'm concerned, we should focus on the world that is only a few years away from us. A world where our software increasingly resembles ourselves. A world where a self-driving car drives safer than us, where an artificial doctor makes a better diagnosis than us, where we design medicines using AI, and where our children learn all their knowledge using AI. Speaking like a human is not an exception in this world, but rather a natural occurrence. But as creative professionals and craftspeople, we must always follow a practical, ethically correct, and legal path.


We regularly discuss this with both clients and voice-over artists. About the future, the possibilities, the dangers, and the financial, legal, and ethical considerations. We founded Vocoda.ai as a 'fair trade' company for digital voices. If you're interested, you can read more about it in the Vocoda Manifesto.


Additionally, Ambassadors will host an AI breakfast session on Thursday, May 2, where we will delve much deeper into this topic and explore the possibilities of AI in both visuals and sound. You can sign up for this breakfast session via the following link.


With Vocoda as an AI voice studio rooted in creativity, we stand for the ethical and transparent use of AI. Our experience with traditional voice-over recordings, combined with a deep respect for the craft, has led us to build Vocoda with one simple promise: to create AI-driven voices of the highest quality while protecting the rights of voice artists.


Diederik Veelo,

Chief Innovation Officer & Partner, Ambassadors

Founder, Vocoda.ai


Originally published on Adformatie (NL)

Not long ago, I stood on one of the many stages at SXSW to talk about AI and Voice. As I discussed the technical possibilities, legal limitations, and ethical responsibilities, the EU published its most recent AI Act. It could not have been a more relevant moment as international legislation regarding AI applications is rapidly evolving.


With the recent Aldi news, the discussion around AI and ethics was reignited. And rightly so; voice-over artists are concerned, the creative industry is uncertain about what it can and cannot do, and most brands hesitate, mainly to avoid being held responsible for improper AI use. It's a hot topic, and it will likely remain so for a while.


You can have many opinions about the quality of the Aldi voice, but in my opinion, the Aldi case does one thing well, and that is one of the most important aspects we need to consider within AI regulation, namely, housing the source material used. By using the voices of Aldi employees, who have explicitly approved it, at least the rights are ensured.


But fortunately, Aldi is not alone in this. Ambassadors has been working on artificial intelligence for over five years. In the Ambassadors Lab team, we work hard every day to perfect digital voices in multiple languages for international clients such as Booking.com and N26. My colleague and namesake Diederik van Middelkoop (Co-ECD and partner of Ambassadors) recorded over 40 hours of speech back in 2019 to replicate his voice bilingually and to explore where the technical difficulties lie. After recently joining forces, we know better than anyone what is currently possible, where it needs to go, and how we actively participate in it.


For example, we closely collaborate with our voice-over artists to define buyouts based on traditional agreements so that the artists themselves can co-define the terms for how their voices are used. The relationship between a brand and the voice-over artist is not replaced by a platform at our company, making AI an extension of the artist, rather than a replacement. I dare say that Ambassadors is at the forefront of AI in the creative market in the Netherlands. We're not used to saying that because we naturally prefer to do rather than talk, but the fact that Ambassadors has developed its own AI environment within the Cube platform since 2020 underscores our commitment.


With the Vocoda.ai label, Ambassadors works on digital voices for the advertising industry as well as technical solutions for the medical world, especially for people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This terrible disease sometimes results in dysarthria, a condition where speech is affected because the signals from the brain no longer reach the muscles. You can imagine how, with the loss of someone's speech, a part of their personality is also lost. After all, what makes us 'us' is our ability to freely express ourselves.


But digital voices are not new. Stephen Hawking, who also suffered from ALS, has been using speech computers since 1986, and his flawed computer voice is now inseparably linked to the personality he was. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, and now that we can reconstruct someone's own voice using AI, it can make a huge difference in acceptance, both for the patient and for family and friends, and thus serve as an emotional tool. A digital voice no longer needs to sound like a computer, so it no longer needs to be seen as a handicap.


What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other. There's much to gain for brands and voices: A service center of a major insurer can, in principle, welcome and assist customers with the same voice as in the commercial. That strengthens the power and consistency of the brand. That same voice can also be used in German and Spanish without the voice-over actor mastering the language, for a fee, of course. But that is both a practical solution and a source of income that did not exist before.


And what we must realize in the discussion about AI is that the entire world is currently undergoing a technological transformation. Every notable technology company is working on AI development. There is not a single university that has not included AI in its curriculum. The world is closer than ever to developing machines that can learn at a fundamental level as we do.


So, as far as I'm concerned, we should focus on the world that is only a few years away from us. A world where our software increasingly resembles ourselves. A world where a self-driving car drives safer than us, where an artificial doctor makes a better diagnosis than us, where we design medicines using AI, and where our children learn all their knowledge using AI. Speaking like a human is not an exception in this world, but rather a natural occurrence. But as creative professionals and craftspeople, we must always follow a practical, ethically correct, and legal path.


We regularly discuss this with both clients and voice-over artists. About the future, the possibilities, the dangers, and the financial, legal, and ethical considerations. We founded Vocoda.ai as a 'fair trade' company for digital voices. If you're interested, you can read more about it in the Vocoda Manifesto.


Additionally, Ambassadors will host an AI breakfast session on Thursday, May 2, where we will delve much deeper into this topic and explore the possibilities of AI in both visuals and sound. You can sign up for this breakfast session via the following link.


With Vocoda as an AI voice studio rooted in creativity, we stand for the ethical and transparent use of AI. Our experience with traditional voice-over recordings, combined with a deep respect for the craft, has led us to build Vocoda with one simple promise: to create AI-driven voices of the highest quality while protecting the rights of voice artists.


Diederik Veelo,

Chief Innovation Officer & Partner, Ambassadors

Founder, Vocoda.ai


Originally published on Adformatie (NL)

Not long ago, I stood on one of the many stages at SXSW to talk about AI and Voice. As I discussed the technical possibilities, legal limitations, and ethical responsibilities, the EU published its most recent AI Act. It could not have been a more relevant moment as international legislation regarding AI applications is rapidly evolving.


With the recent Aldi news, the discussion around AI and ethics was reignited. And rightly so; voice-over artists are concerned, the creative industry is uncertain about what it can and cannot do, and most brands hesitate, mainly to avoid being held responsible for improper AI use. It's a hot topic, and it will likely remain so for a while.


You can have many opinions about the quality of the Aldi voice, but in my opinion, the Aldi case does one thing well, and that is one of the most important aspects we need to consider within AI regulation, namely, housing the source material used. By using the voices of Aldi employees, who have explicitly approved it, at least the rights are ensured.


But fortunately, Aldi is not alone in this. Ambassadors has been working on artificial intelligence for over five years. In the Ambassadors Lab team, we work hard every day to perfect digital voices in multiple languages for international clients such as Booking.com and N26. My colleague and namesake Diederik van Middelkoop (Co-ECD and partner of Ambassadors) recorded over 40 hours of speech back in 2019 to replicate his voice bilingually and to explore where the technical difficulties lie. After recently joining forces, we know better than anyone what is currently possible, where it needs to go, and how we actively participate in it.


For example, we closely collaborate with our voice-over artists to define buyouts based on traditional agreements so that the artists themselves can co-define the terms for how their voices are used. The relationship between a brand and the voice-over artist is not replaced by a platform at our company, making AI an extension of the artist, rather than a replacement. I dare say that Ambassadors is at the forefront of AI in the creative market in the Netherlands. We're not used to saying that because we naturally prefer to do rather than talk, but the fact that Ambassadors has developed its own AI environment within the Cube platform since 2020 underscores our commitment.


With the Vocoda.ai label, Ambassadors works on digital voices for the advertising industry as well as technical solutions for the medical world, especially for people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This terrible disease sometimes results in dysarthria, a condition where speech is affected because the signals from the brain no longer reach the muscles. You can imagine how, with the loss of someone's speech, a part of their personality is also lost. After all, what makes us 'us' is our ability to freely express ourselves.


But digital voices are not new. Stephen Hawking, who also suffered from ALS, has been using speech computers since 1986, and his flawed computer voice is now inseparably linked to the personality he was. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, and now that we can reconstruct someone's own voice using AI, it can make a huge difference in acceptance, both for the patient and for family and friends, and thus serve as an emotional tool. A digital voice no longer needs to sound like a computer, so it no longer needs to be seen as a handicap.


What can be seen as a danger on one hand can provide great positive impact and opportunities on the other. There's much to gain for brands and voices: A service center of a major insurer can, in principle, welcome and assist customers with the same voice as in the commercial. That strengthens the power and consistency of the brand. That same voice can also be used in German and Spanish without the voice-over actor mastering the language, for a fee, of course. But that is both a practical solution and a source of income that did not exist before.


And what we must realize in the discussion about AI is that the entire world is currently undergoing a technological transformation. Every notable technology company is working on AI development. There is not a single university that has not included AI in its curriculum. The world is closer than ever to developing machines that can learn at a fundamental level as we do.


So, as far as I'm concerned, we should focus on the world that is only a few years away from us. A world where our software increasingly resembles ourselves. A world where a self-driving car drives safer than us, where an artificial doctor makes a better diagnosis than us, where we design medicines using AI, and where our children learn all their knowledge using AI. Speaking like a human is not an exception in this world, but rather a natural occurrence. But as creative professionals and craftspeople, we must always follow a practical, ethically correct, and legal path.


We regularly discuss this with both clients and voice-over artists. About the future, the possibilities, the dangers, and the financial, legal, and ethical considerations. We founded Vocoda.ai as a 'fair trade' company for digital voices. If you're interested, you can read more about it in the Vocoda Manifesto.


Additionally, Ambassadors will host an AI breakfast session on Thursday, May 2, where we will delve much deeper into this topic and explore the possibilities of AI in both visuals and sound. You can sign up for this breakfast session via the following link.


With Vocoda as an AI voice studio rooted in creativity, we stand for the ethical and transparent use of AI. Our experience with traditional voice-over recordings, combined with a deep respect for the craft, has led us to build Vocoda with one simple promise: to create AI-driven voices of the highest quality while protecting the rights of voice artists.


Diederik Veelo,

Chief Innovation Officer & Partner, Ambassadors

Founder, Vocoda.ai


Originally published on Adformatie (NL)

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