AI and Podcasting – Talking to Computers
“I’m sure one day you won’t be able to tell the difference, and maybe it’s not a bad thing, because everybody wants to be at their best. You know, we wear nice clothes and put on makeup and everything else, and, you know, maybe one day you’ll do the same for your voice, so you won’t sound tired or hung over or whatever…” — Carl Robinson
This episode’s guest is the co-founder and CEO of Rumble Studio, a startup that helps creators, agencies, and brands create podcasts ten times faster and easier using cutting-edge voice technology. Rumble Studio is the first and only company to record asynchronous guest interviews using conversational AI, which allows anyone to create audio content at scale, no skills required. He’s the host of the Voice Tech Podcast and has interviewed more than one hundred experts in the field of voice technology. Earlier in his career, he led a product team at a chatbot startup and became a published voice AI data scientist. His ambition is to democratize audio content creation so that businesses large and small can establish a presence on the audio channels of the future.
His name is Carl Robinson and you’ll want to hear what he has to say about Ai and Podcasting, and the state of audio in general. The future of sound is already here, so, let’s get to it!
As always, if you have questions for my guest, you’re welcome to reach out through the links in the show notes. If you have questions for me, visit www.audiobrandingpodcast.com where you’ll find a lot of ways to get in touch. Plus, subscribing to the newsletter will let you know when the new podcasts are available. And if you’re getting some value from listening, feel free to spread that around and share it with a friend, along with leaving an honest review. Both those things really help – and I’d love to feature your review on future podcasts. You can leave one either in written or in voice format from the podcast’s main page. I would so appreciate that.
The People Behind the Curtain
Our interview starts with Carl’s earliest memories of sound, the video-game chiptunes and sound effects that helped define his childhood. He tells us how his career began with voice technology and, as a result, soon segued into podcasting. We discuss his early work with healthcare chatbots at a time when they relied much more on human guidance: as he puts it, “I was one of the many people behind the curtain.” Carl tells us how the idea came to him that podcasting could be automated to scale using voice technology, and how underutilized it was at the time. “That was around the time,” he says, “when Alexa and everything was taking off so it was a great time to have that realization.”
Wearing Your Best Voice
Carl tells us how he finished his work in Beijing and moved to France to help develop machine learning models in the earliest days of voice interface. He spent much of his time, he says, talking to computers – or, as Carl explains, “dreaming of talking to computers because there wasn’t that much talking to them.” He tells us about the pioneering research into simulated emotional tones and how he’s working these days on voice transformation, apps that process and change a person’s inflections, accent, and even who their voice belongs to, in real-time. We talk about some of the companies that are on the leading edge of that process, such as Sanas.AI, Veritone, and Respeecher, and how one day we may see choosing our best digital voice as casually as picking an outfit to wear to an interview.
Robots on the Phone
We talk about all the exciting possibilities, and some worrying potentials for misuse, when it comes to voice transformation, and about how audio chatbots might be received once they’re indistinguishable from humans. “If they were pretending that it was real,” Carl notes, recalling the controversial launch of Google Duplex and its AI phone-concierge service a few years ago, “and it wasn’t, I think that really gets people’s backs up.” He tells us how Rumble Studios is now working with this sort of technology and integrating it into the podcast production process in new and exciting ways.
Taking the Stress Off
Carl shares his experience creating his new series Audio Leads, which utilizes voice chatbots and AI to reinvent podcast production. He explains how the interviews are delivered by AI and customized both before and after the recording process to create a natural conversation, and how that system’s been received by podcast guests. “They have to think about the answer, plan it, and then that’s it,” he says. “But what Google found is that some guests prefer that.” We discuss the flow of a real-time podcast, how it compares to a chatbot-guided podcast, and how Rumble Studios recreates that flow through its unique editing process. “It is different from a standard podcast process,” he explains. “I can get people to leave a little bit more of a concise answer, and it takes the stress off of them as well.”
- Carl’s early memories of sound, from Game Boys to ghetto blasters
- What a healthcare app for diabetic patients taught Carl about audio interfaces
- How technology enables us to improve, disguise, and reinvent our voices
- The “arms race” between voice authentication and voice modification software
- Audio Leads and how voice chatbots can streamline podcast production
Be sure to tune in next week as Carl and I talk about how businesses can streamline the podcasting process, how breakthroughs in sound editing are making it harder to believe our ears these days, and a closer look at the nuts and bolts of machine learning and how chatbots really think.
Connect with the Guest:
Website (and a 7-day free software trial): http://www.rumble.studio/
Vocie Tech Podcast: https://voicetechpodcast.com/
Follow Carl Robinson on Facebook: https://facebook.com/rumblestudio
Connect with Carl Robinson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlrobins0n/
Follow Carl Robinson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VoiceTechCarl
Async Podcast Masterclass (PDF & Webinar) teaches you how to create podcasts ten times faster. Subscribe to Rumble Studio’s newsletter for more: https://rumble.studio/masterclass
Get your complimentary mini e-book and learn how to put your best voice forward and create the best sound impression as a podcast guest with my Tips for Sounding Your Best as a Podcast Guest.
Do you need a voice talent for your next project? Visit my voice-over website to find out more about how my voice can help you with your audio brand. You can also subscribe to the Audio Branding Podcast on YouTube to watch the show’s latest episodes.
And to click here to subscribe (for free!) to The Big Minute with Mark Steadman.
This interview episode was very skillfully made to sound beautiful by the talented Humberto Franco.