February 5, 2023

Apple has developed a new feature in its Apple Books app – artificial intelligence narration. In addition to having audiobooks narrated by real people, the app now gives you the option to have your books read to you by a digital voice that sounds like a human narrator.

What exactly is artificial intelligence (AI)?

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Artificial intelligence is the process of computer systems simulating human intelligence, including learning, reasoning, and self-correction. Artificial intelligence technologies are being developed and used in a variety of applications, including natural language processing (as Apple does), robotics, and expert systems for a variety of industries and purposes.

Why does Apple use AI voice to narrate?

Apple decided to take this initiative to give books from smaller publishers and lesser-known authors a chance to have their books told on the platform. Audiobooks are more of a platform for larger fiction and publishing companies that have the budget to produce them.

Over the past few months, the company has been reaching out to independent publishers and offering them the chance to have their audiobooks read by these AI narrators. The agreement was that they would pay for the digital recording, but pay the authors a royalty on sales, and some publishers agreed.

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With the addition of this new feature, more publishers will have the opportunity to publish their titles, and readers will have access to more content.

Is there a downside to having an AI narrator?

The first and biggest argument against AI narration is that some fear it could eliminate the use of human narrators. Audiobook narration has become a huge industry for VoiceOver artists and actors, especially since the pandemic began.

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However, because it costs more and takes longer to produce audiobooks with human narrators, Apple and other big tech companies may choose to start using artificial intelligence.

This will largely depend on how readers respond to the AI-generated voice narrating to them, as many may still prefer to hear a lively human narrator.

Another argument is the perception of lower quality control. Considering how much time and money it takes to produce an audiobook, one can always safely assume that a book made into an audiobook might be one of the best books out there.

However, with the use of AI narration, all that time and money is no longer an issue, and almost any book, good or bad, can be made into an audiobook.

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This is great for publishers who want to publish a book but don’t have the means to do so. However, it may strip away the special status of owning “good enough” literature to make an audiobook.

How to listen to these AI narrators?

  • open your Apple Books application

First, open your Apple Books app.
(Kurt Knudsen)

Go to the Search icon in Apple Books.

Go to the Search icon in Apple Books.
(Kurt Knudsen)

  • enter”Narrated by Apple Books”
Narrative books can be found here.

Narrative books can be found here.
(Kurt Knudsen)

  • you will get a the list All books narrated by Apple Books in the app
Books in the app are narrated by Apple Books.

Books in the app are narrated by Apple Books.
(Kurt Knudsen)

What do you think of artificial intelligence? Will it make our lives easier…or should we worry that this is the beginning of the end of humanity as we know it?


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