Article·AI & Engineering·Dec 20, 2023

Top Four Use-cases for Text-to-Speech AI

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Tife Sanusi
By Tife Sanusi
PublishedDec 20, 2023
UpdatedJun 13, 2024

In 1780, a physics professor at Copenhagen University designed a device that could produce vowel sounds. The machine, which went on to win first place at a contest by the Imperial Academy of Science in St. Petersburg, is the earliest recorded attempt at a speech synthesizer. Today, we have text-to-speech systems that are able to synthesize a full range of human speech  giving users the ability to bring their text to life. 

Speech synthesis, also known as text-to-speech AI, refers to the production of audible speech by converting a text input. Text-to-speech models are usually created by training deep neural networks on large amounts of speech data along with their corresponding label, This is then used to convert written texts to speech using intricate architectures and techniques. As with all other types of AI, speech-to-text AI is fast gaining popularity because of its usefulness in different various scenarios from text narration on reading apps and websites to human-like voices for podcasts and virtual assistants. Here are five top use cases for text-to-speech AI.

Accessibility

The Speech Plus CallText 5010 is perhaps the most popular speech synthesis model used primarily for accessibility. Created by Dennis Klatt, a speech synthesis scientist, for Stephen Hawking, the machine allowed Hawking to “speak” with other people after he lost that ability to a disease. Since that time, text-to-speech models have gotten much smaller and more efficient but can still be used by people with disabilities to navigate the world.

Many people with visual problems use text-to-speech applications to navigate through websites and digital forms that would otherwise be difficult to navigate. No-code form builders like Feathery support text-to-speech natively for automatically filling forms. This also extends to websites that help people keep in touch with their community like  social media platforms and news sites. Synthetic voices are also being used for public service announcements in places like train stations and airports, as well as for crosswalks to make public spaces more accessible to people with disabilities. Tools like Dys-vocal also use speech synthesis to help people with speech disorders like dyslexia and dysphasia learn better and easier. 

Voice assistants are one of the most popular use cases of text-to-speech technology. Although they are used by everyone (according to NPR and Edison research, 67% of Americans over 18 use some form of voice assistance), voice assistants are particularly useful to people living with disabilities. Using voice assistants, people can search the internet, listen to music, make calls and send messages, read the news, and do a lot more. All these can be done simply by voice command making voice assistants a valuable tool for people with disabilities.

Business

Some of the best real-world uses of text-to-speech AI are probably in business where there are countless opportunities to incorporate the technology and automate multiple processes. Both small businesses with limited resources and large corporations with multiple departments stand to gain by using text-to-speech technology to help with the productivity of their business. One of these ways is by using speech synthesis to streamline the customer service process by automating standard requests and calls. According to a Salesforce survey, 54% of customers use voice assistants to communicate with companies.

Text-to-speech AI can also be used for marketing efforts like social media voiceovers and voice advertising. According to an Adobe report, some customers find voice ads less intrusive than ads on television or the internet and some find it even more appealing. Speech synthesis can be used in this instance to create voice ads or brand voices for podcasts, radio or other formats that work best for the company. This technology can also be used for business documentations, getting feedback from clients, and making the business’ content accessible.

Media

The most interesting and creative uses of text-to-speech technology have been to produce or refine different forms of media. In a previous article, I wrote about how Lior Sol, a sound engineer is using Generative AI and text-to-speech AI to create a podcast, Myself, I am and that, where he facilitates conversations between two clones of himself. Text-to-speech AI allows people who want to create podcast projects but are not able to use their own voice to synthesize artificial human-like voices as an alternative. This is actually easier and faster since you don’t have to actually record the podcast. This extends to other forms of audio like web content and social media posts. Speech synthesis allows people to provide an alternative to their written content online.

Text-to-speech AI can also help in game development. Using speech synthesis, a game developer can almost instantly give voices to their different characters as well as provide voice overs for their game. This makes creating in-game dialogue faster and cheaper while making it easy to access different languages for the game. The same technology can be used to voice animations and movies in general especially if the production is on a limited budget.

Travel and tourism

According to a Pew Research survey, around 71% of US adults have traveled outside of the country with the most popular destinations being Mexico, Canada, Italy, France, and the UK. More than half of the countries on this list are not English-speaking countries meaning that tourists might find it difficult to navigate their way around the country.  Combining text-to-speech AI and AI translators can allow tourists to effortlessly translate written words and convert them to speech. This in turn makes it easier for tourists to communicate and relate with people living in these countries allowing them to properly immerse themselves in the culture. 

This technology can also be used in tourist attractions like museums, tours, and historical sites. Text-to-speech AI allows these destinations to cater to a diverse audience who speak several different languages ensuring that all of them are able to understand exhibits and information. This can also be used in virtual tours and exhibits that do not require being physically present.

Conclusion

Text-to-speech AI is one of the most useful technologies around today. It can be used for a wide variety of tasks ranging from creating podcasts and voiceovers to using speech synthesis to streamline the customer service and feedback process. Speech synthesis has also made creating video and audio content, as well as games and movies easier for beginners with limited resources. This makes it an attractive, and often cheaper, tool for businesses as well as people in the creative industry. With the introduction of commercial text-to-speech models, it has never been easier to take advantage of speech synthesis technology and use them to improve your business or personal life.

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