For the host of “The Price Is Right,” an experiment with AI on his radio show went quite wrong.
When Drew Carey decided to use a ChatGPT-written script, delivered by an artificially generated version of his voice, on a recent episode of his SiriusXM show “Friday Night Freakout,” he heard about it from listeners, and what he heard wasn't positive. They complained that Drew's voice sounded “soulless,” wanting the "real Drew” back.
"I violated a rule from Radio 101," Carey tells Engadget. "The reason FM stations and treasured radio stations still make money is because people like the personality of the DJs. You don't have to be like a big boss radio guy and be phony. You can just talk. That's what listeners like."
While Carey says he got the message loud and clear not to try that again on “Freakout,” given the comedian's resulting robotic-sounding AI voice and simplistic nature of the ChatGPT script, he says he was mainly interested in seeing how far he could go with the technology. "I was just playing with it, and I wanted to show what it was capable of, [although] I don't want to show everybody how to make an exact copy of my voice right now. I thought it might screw me over somehow, so I had that little fear in the back of my head."
Working with a friend, Carey spent a weekend creating his AI voice, while ChatGPT wrote nearly all of his show's script, including a joke that the program was so easy that "even Drew Carey can use it."
Although other celebrities may feel threatened by AI, Carey sees it more as a helpful radio production tool to read a script or write ad copy in a pinch. Asked whether that could make it easier for stations to not hire beginners or lower-level workers, he says, “There are no blacksmiths anymore. If you're a mechanic that works on internal combustion engine cars, if you don't make the switch to electric soon, you're out of a job."
Nor is he concerned about being replaced by a digital likeness via AI or other related technologies. "I'm not worried about CGI Drew Carey taking over, because people want to see me, they want some kind of host,” he says. “They want that interaction."