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The Glove Factory… A Voice Talent Carol

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Evolution… The initial air of an infinite work played by Mother Nature herself…

From time immemorial, small organisms have adapted to cope with new difficulties and new needs, until they grew and built the foundations on which the countless forms of life present in the universe were founded…

era meglio se fossimo rimasti sugli alberi, anzi, meglio se fossimo rimasti nell'acqua, avremmo fatto meno danni
Evoluzione Umana

Each species then chose a different path, improving morphological, physical and intellectual characteristics to favor the evolution of its own species and preserve it.

In this huge orchestra, all the life of the universe plays and you can hear the perfect harmony that emerges from it, from the breaths of unicellular organisms to the percussions of mastodontic mammals.

Here comes a variation in the main air, as when gently, in an orchestra, the strings begin to enter and Survival makes room. Each species plays its part following the score dictated by Mother Nature, trying to keep time for the good of the work and its own survival.

Our species is based precisely on survival.

Let’s face it, perhaps Mother Nature had not foreseen our arrogance and our ambition, but in the end we always managed to exploit everything around us: tools to get food, animal skins to warm us up and so on…

We found a way to “bypass” instincts and natural rules by developing our own language and leaving signs of our passage to pass on information that cannot be transmitted with simple instinct…

In that wonderful harmony there is our overbearing section, out of tune, out of time and tending to overwhelm all others.


Now, after this long premise, we come to the “juice” of reflection:

We are following a path that requires a lot of attention. We must maintain a certain balance, now more than ever… We are all working for a glove factory and the next step in evolution could involve beings without hands…

guanti sado-maso
Guanti modello Lady Boss


I often reiterate the concept, especially because at this time we are all becoming potential employees of the glove factory…

Not one category yes and the other no, ALL of us will be replaced by a machine, developing a future mechanism with the classic system of the past…



Mitico Amiga600, una leggenda per quelli degli anni 80, io l'ho vissuta solo durante il suo declino
Amiga600

Shall we put in a sci-fi parallelism?

As if we were approaching the Sun with a 1974 spacecraft, the technology of an Amiga600 applied to an interstellar cosmic journey, but no one realized that this time, the step we want to take will be much longer than the leg.


Progress and evolution must not stop, but we should first wait a few seconds and reflect:

Some of us have developed artificial intelligences that will inevitably be able to replace us in everything and for everything, but I’m not just talking about voices, I also mean translators, copywriters, web designers, secretaries, accountants, lawyers, programmers, technicians, workers, maintenance workers, plc experts, cashiers, pilots, mechanics… Everyone! No one excluded!

It was necessary to foresee this and take shelter, but the shield will have to wait and, before it is regulated globally, some damage will probably have already been done.


Starting from the assumption that an AI is mathematical, an algorithm that can vary and modify, giving the impression of being sentient, but it will never be completely so because it will always need someone to learn from and “steal”, and then resell that information as if it were its own.



macchine che imparano da noi. Machine Learning
Machine Learning

That’s what the human race has done for millions of years, the only difference is that we have never copied a specific piece of information 100%, but rather we have processed it, made it our own and transmitted it with our personal modifications to our successors, adapting it to the times, which in turn updated it, processed it and transmitted it to their successors and so on, from time to time, an infinite and unstoppable evolution, always growing… Until today!


In the last 30 years, many have been afraid of losing their own garden, the advent of Photoshop scared many photographers of the time, the advent of vending machines made shopkeepers go through a bad quarter of an hour, the arrival of Telepass scared many toll collectors and so on…


But the path we are taking is different, not only one sector will be at risk, we will all be hit by technology and will suffer the most influential evolutionary arrest in our history.


The idea that I can personally expose concerns my sector, and today we have a new competitor, it costs little, does more or less decent things, is quick and has been widely advertised and sponsored without spending anything, a somewhat unfair behavior because it is on everyone’s lips and everyone talks about it: The Digital Voice…


Listening to a podcast by a great and highly esteemed colleague, I thought of revisiting part of a famous historical story from the late 1800s that fits well with what we are experiencing: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:

A Voice Talent Carol


Ermanno Scrugi, ebenizer scrooge dal cantico di natale di Charles Dickens
Ermanno Scrugi

Lanciano, 2023, Ermanno Scrugi is an elderly banker, very rich but monstrously greedy and selfish, who spends nothing even for himself (to the point that, despite his wealth, he dresses in rags and lives a life of nothingness) and strongly hates Voice Talent, considering them greedy and arrogant people who hide behind their beautiful diction and flaunt their equipment to earn money without “having done anything”.

So annoyed by the senselessly excessive requests, that Scrugi forces his humble accountant employee Roberto Crachetti, to whom he gives a starvation wage, to write, record and publish courses, commercials and voice overs, forcing him to stay in the office until late, heavily reprimanding him for the unprofessional results.

For this insane attachment to money, Scrugi is quite hated by many citizens and even Mr. Crachetti carries with him a lot of mockery and various ironies, due to his unclear and somewhat “amateurish” productions, but he is just a simple accountant and this is evident only to the most.


Scrugi begins to report all the commentators, begins to take it out on his competitors as well, who unlike him finance that foolish and senseless market that is that of audio productions, copywriters and voice talent.

He looks askance and responds badly to all those who have hired a Voice Talent or who advise him to do the same; he is not even kind to his affectionate nephew Francesco, his only living relative, son of his deceased sister, who visits him in the office, tells him that he has opened a VAT number as a dubber and tries to invite him to dinner with his family to show him what his skills are.


When, returning home, he arrives at the doorstep, Scrugi seems to glimpse, reflected in the intercom of his gate, the face of his deceased business partner Giacomo Manley Voxbox, who died exactly seven years earlier, and is deeply disturbed by it.

Entering the house, while dining seated near the fireplace, he begins to perceive strange phenomena: he hears a Larsen effect on the stairs enveloped in darkness and a noise of Phantom activated in the microphones in the cellar, then sees a monitor box connected oscillating by itself.

At this point a door opens and Manley’s ghost appears: a terrible vision, made even more terrifying when, uncovering the bandages to show his face, an anti-pop filter falls from his face. Around his waist he carries an xlr cable, cable ties, mixer knobs, intra-community invoices and microphone stands, all things that, in his opinion, led him to do good for others.


He had lived a life closed in his own vocal booth, helping deserving people who loved him, it was his choice of life and in death he was damned to pay the penalty of approaching inexperienced speakers and dubbers who were about to participate in text to speech with machine training purposes, an eternal penalty and only one fighter for thousands of opportunities but he fought with pleasure, a damnation that forces him to wander the world and unplug the phantom +48v from the young dubber who was about to start his 20 hour audio recording with repeated phrases with different intonations in exchange for 50/100 or at most 400€.

His only relief is being able to warn Scrugi because the cable he was forging was much longer and unbalanced than his own and if he had continued like this he would have suffered a much worse fate as evidenced by the fact that in the meantime even the ghosts of Hindi Voice Talent replaced entirely by Revoicer have also appeared.

Manley then announces to him the imminent visit of three spirits: the first at one o’clock on the same night, the second at one o’clock on the following night, the third at midnight on the day after that. However, Scrugi is not too disturbed by this and when Manley Voxbox disappears, he lies down.

The spirit of past Voices

Mitico microfono stile Shotgun, Sennheiser
Sennheiser Telemike

As announced, at one o’clock in the night appeared the Spirit of Past Voices, a white ghost surrounded by a reel-to-reel tape and with its head covered by audiocassettes. In his hand a Sennehiser shotgun microphone connected to a tube preamplifier.

The spirit wakes Scrugi and takes him back in time to revisit his forgotten childhood, in one scene he is a child at school desks, sent to study in boarding school by his father, Ermanno was alone, sad and without friends, studying in a dark and cold classroom, his only company was listening to the radio that broadcast dramas.

In another scene, some time later, he was at home watching TV with his little sister.


Spirito del Natale Passato di Canto di Natale
Spirito delle Voci Passate

It is a happy moment, foreign comedy films that speak in his language, laughter, fun and jokes.

The ghost reminds Scrugi of the affection of his nephew Francesco who, even as a child, dreamed of dubbing a film, but also reminds him of the rudeness with which he treated him, Scrugi begins to feel remorse.

A few years later Ermanno and his friend go to a cinema to watch a western film, a cinema too small for both of them.

Scrugi is faced with the memory of how much the voice talent and dubbers of the past have helped him in his personal growth, for his moments of leisure and for shopping advice.

The scene changes again and an adult Scrugi appears, now rich, having moved with Manley Voxbox as chief financier in his new eponymous studio.

Overcome with remorse, Scrugi turns off the preamplifier on the ghost’s head and he finds himself back in his bedroom sleeping and resting, ready to face the Spirit of Present Voices.


The Spirit of Present Voices

Scrooge is awakened in the middle of the night by the second spirit, that of Present Voices, very similar to a chubby bearded man, a sort of Neumann Santa Claus, wearing an Isovox 2 as a headdress and holding USB sticks with Waves licenses in his hands, paid for their weight in gold but soon to be useless.

A giant with a jovial and cheerful air, stuffed with the thick presence of regular and non-regular speakers and voice talent who are about to fight each other for some casting that offers an extra or for a vile mention on Audible.

Spirito del Natale Presente
Spirito delle Voci Presenti

The suit is made from a 4k screen, the cufflinks are power buttons of an M1 and he wears an Apollo knob as a necklace.

With a hearty laugh he leads Scrugi into the homes of Speakers and their home studios, where he shows him how, while at night he was enjoying a well-deserved rest, a few kilometers away from him there was a speaker busy dubbing a video for YouTube on the fat eels of the Apennines, there was no compensation, in exchange they would put his name in the details, but he did it all with his 2000+ euro U87.

In another house he saw a young man reciting radio commercials, exhausted and worn out, blocked from going to sleep by a platform that did not approve his work because at the moment there was no one on the other end to confirm it.

In another house he found a girl busy creating her first Gig, dreaming of becoming a podcaster, dreaming of being able to transmit her emotions to someone, dreaming of helping someone overcome a difficult moment…

There was still someone practicing difficult scenes, trying to hit the right support, the right intention and then someone living surrounded by the fog of his vape while editing for 10 hours of course that he would have to deliver the next morning.

He saw that there were those who worked on Sundays, those on Christmas Eve, those on Easter and those every day of the week, in exchange for only a small glory.


Questo qui ha fatto dei microfoni belli belli
Neumann

Then they visited Crachetti’s house, still awake studying the book “Parlare Bene” to try to please his boss.

His son, Wind, entered his room all scared, mumbled something, but the poor child could not articulate well and confused the words, they told him that there was a group of dubbers who could help him by providing him with stories read by them, but his father’s boss hated the category too much and if he had found out, Crachetti would have been left without a job.

Scrugi slowly begins to redeem himself and begs and asks the Spirit if Crachetti’s son will one day be able to speak well and express himself with greater naturalness, but the spirit replied in a hoarse voice: “He will do it, but his emotions will be dictated by a habit that you yourself are helping to create!”

Scrugi rightly believed that Talent do not work and therefore do not deserve anything since they do not honestly earn their money but did not consider that his employee even though working honestly will never be able to produce something professional if he can never take inspiration from what others are doing, from what others have done and consequently his son Wind will never be able to speak well if surrounded by a deviated reality…

But there is someone else who has taken inspiration from what has been:

They go to another house and there is Francesco who in order to pay the bills receives a particular request from a gentleman who proposes a fair solution, a reward of a few coins in exchange for his soul, his voice, as things are going he will no longer need it.


Before leaving, the specter takes Scrugi inside a dubbing room, announcing his imminent death at midnight, since his life lasts only one night, he then shows two ragged, embittered and miserable children who represent Ignorance and greed, to which poor talent are condemned by the class of people intent on senseless saving, and of which Scrugi is a part.

A small reflection came from the specter: “If your bank is so prosperous, if your business is doing so well, why do you continue to want to save on marketing, on courses for your promoters, on various services… You are perpetrating a deception, no one would want to entrust their savings to you knowing that your management is so miserly or poor that it cannot afford a valid sponsorship and you will most likely resort to AI trained by your own nephew Francesco who may even copy his voice destroying him both in spirit and in finances…”


The spirit dies slowly laughing with a weak voice while Ignorance and greed turn into dust.


Alone and lost in the fog Scrugi awaits the arrival of the third and final spirit.


The Spirit of Future Voices

Spirito del Natale Futuro di dickens
Spirito delle Voci Future

Scrugi felt a strong shiver down his spine, looked around and saw a gigantic figure covered by a huge black cloak appear in front of him, there were many questions, but he began a short monologue:


"Hello, I am Roberto, I am everyone’s favorite voice, I am used to narrate documentaries, for advertising, tutorials, audio guides, I have my natural intentions that I am transmitting to all humanity and for years I have been waiting for an updated version of myself… Unfortunately I no longer have anyone to draw information from, but people are fine with me as I am and even if while listening to the radio they can no longer distinguish one spot from another it is not a problem at all because after all I only cost $49 a month.

Sure, I repeat everything they tell me to repeat sometimes without even needing a correction I can talk for hours and return the job in no time.

Voce artificiale in italiano, Roberto, fanculo Roberto!
AI Natural Voice

Individuality no longer exists now I am the only one left to compete with but I have other voices that I could use.

They will all have more or less the same intonations but the timbre will change at least you will be able to distinguish a documentary from a spot. Come on! After all you’ve been listening to electronic music for years and you’ve never complained about sampled drums or musical instruments emulated by a machine now why would you complain about a Voice?


I only cost $49 a month and with me you can do whatever you want."


“LET’S END THIS S***!!!


A speaker armed with a microphone stand and TLM103 appeared and destroyed the ghost of Future Voices:

"SCRUGI, STOP BEING A CHEAPSKATE… Let me do my job… And stop tormenting Crachetti! Differentiate yourself and appear as someone who knows what they’re doing and who really cares about their image, who doesn’t just care about profit!

Humanity depends on you! Redeem yourself!"


Scrugi woke up with a start, the next day he hired Francesco and had him redo all his archive of courses, audio guides, spots and more, he got many more customers, people trusted him thanks to the quality of his marketing activity. He raised Crachetti’s salary and appointed him marketing director.


He paid Francesco for a series of interactive audiobooks and gave them to little Wind, who not only learned to speak well but began studying and became a great lawyer…


Unfortunately lawyers were targeted by an ultra-updated AI that upon entering the parameters of a given crime applied the corresponding laws automatically and elaborated various ploys to escape it on all fronts.

The world order of lawyers sued it and began an eternal and long battle…

The AI was so advanced that it defended itself alone and at the same time managed to join the cause of the AI of accountants artists PLC maintainers etc…


The end of humanity had only been postponed…

La fine dell'uomo per via delle AI?
Apocalisse

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