It may seem a little strange, to assume from someone who has recently seen their entire future change that you don’t have to be afraid of the future. That everything will be fine. That you should embrace the future.
Well, that’s easier said than done, I can tell you.
Just over two months ago, my relationship ended after 11 years. From one moment to the next, I became a single father with (part-time) three children. The warm reality of family, that of our love, the security in which I loved to bathe, suddenly turned into a torrent of uncertainty. About myself, about the past, about the future.
On the evening in question, I literally fell from the sky. For three hours I sat dizzy on a chair on my terrace, but felt like I was falling. My future shattered, I thought. My right to exist pulverized.
But when I felt ground under my feet again, when most tears had been shed, when grief had become anger, anger resignation, and resignation acceptance, something remarkable happened. The future showed itself again. In the form of a new reality.
A reality of getting up extra early and preparing lunch boxes, of cycling to school together in the morning. Of carefully making breakfast on Saturday and of cooking a royal meal after a hard day’s work and cleaning up the house.
And doing the laundry — yes that too. (If you have an adolescent in the house you know exactly what that’s like.)
A reality I didn’t aspire to before, in which I was — frankly — downright bad, but which I could now suddenly appreciate. Which even gives me pleasure. Embracing the new future, that of change, with all its challenges, gives me pleasure.
And I was reminded of the philosophical statement of the Greek sage Heraclitus: ‘panta rhei’ — everything flows. Or in other words, everything is in motion, and nothing stays the same. Not the world, not you.
Plato wrote additionally about this: ‘One cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh water flows towards us.’
The thought of panta rhei did not come entirely involuntarily. I am, after all, a voice-over, and the opening line I have spoken most often — at least hundreds of times — is, ‘The world is constantly changing”. Among voice-overs, a funny break-in cliché. Which is very true.
Everything is in motion, nothing stays the same, fresh water flows towards us.
When I started our speech technology company DAISYS, I was viewed with suspicion by the few fellow voice overs who knew about it.
Many professional speakers see the advancement and use of speech technology, especially text-to-speech, as a threat or claim that it can never sound like a human being.
But text-to-speech is here, and the market wants it. It’s getting better and better. And it’s inevitably going to change things in the voice over profession.
By using artificial intelligence, big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are able to create credible copies (so-called voice clones) of existing voices.
Within the voice over community, there has been great resistance for years to collaborating with text-to-speech companies that use their voice data to create voice clones. And rightly so, because who wants to lend their voice to a company that can then do anything with it? And barely get compensated for it?
At DAISYS we have always believed that things could be different. That it has to be different. And that the future is not scary. It will bring new things, which we are better off embracing than resisting. Because history teaches us: the future comes, never erases the past, but builds on it.
But, we also believe that a person’s voice is something very personal. That you can’t just capture it in an algorithm. Your voice is your voice. And we believe that you should let the people who determine the success of your company share in that success. By making them owners of it.
DAISYS doesn’t make voice clones, we build speech technology that turns text into believable speech using voices that sound like real people, but don’t exist. We were the first company in the world to achieve this last fall. We can use this technology for all kinds of applications — including applications that do not yet exist.
And now it is time to involve the voice over community in our plans. To give them ownership of the technology and to give them the benefit of artificial intelligence.
So two weeks ago I secretly held a presentation for a select club of the best voice overs in the Netherlands.
With a healthy dose of skepticism, they took their seats in the room. I unfolded our master plan. And what happened then I did not expect: after my presentation people came to me en masse to compliment us on these plans that take voice overs on the path to the future. Almost everyone was enthusiastic!
Byebye fear of the future, hello new reality, hello new possibilities!
Two days after my presentation, more than half of the attendees had already decided to participate in our company. A company by and for voice-overs.
Our plan is to further roll out nationally and internationally in the coming period. Are you a good voice over and are you curious about our plans? Send me a message, I’d love to show you a glimpse of the future.
How am I doing now? I embrace the future. Because… everything flows.
CEO | DAISYS
Voicing the Future Now