In the past three days alone, nearly 103,000 individual podcast episodes were published online. Amidst this hugely oversaturated market, a wave of startups, including ElevenLabs, WondercraftAI, and Podcastle, have introduced easy-to-use tools to generate AI voices in minutes. 

It’s early days and so stats aren’t readily available on Generative AI podcasts. Major hubs like Apple Podcasts and Spotify don’t have separate charts for robot hosts.

The first Generative AI podcast, The Joe Rogan AI Experience, was created by a Rogan fan named Hugo. It used the cloned voice of the world’s most popular human podcast host. The Joe Rogan AI Experience is a series of simulations of Rogan gabbing with (equally fake) guests like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and former president Donald Trump. Hugo has a Patreon to support production of the show and recently turned on monetization on YouTube, but he doesn’t expect to make any real income off it—especially as he’s aware that he doesn’t have consent to use Rogan’s voice or likeness, and that podcasting platforms may end up banning this type of impersonation. 

Hugo created the series because he wanted to showcase what AI voice tools can do. Although he carefully edits the episodes to make them flow for listeners—they can take days or weeks to get right—he doesn’t think the conversations themselves are particularly enthralling, even if they’re reasonably accurate imitations.

It’s unclear whether this podcast will stay around. Some users like the content commenting “this is actually good enough for me. Good stuff.” Funnily enough, some creators don’t even expect audiences to like their output, especially once the novelty wears off. Andi Durrant, for example, helped create an AI-generated podcast called Synthetic Stories at his UK-based content marketing startup. In addition to featuring cloned host voices, every other element of Synthetic Stories is AI-generated, including the script and sound design. “We were proud of it as an experiment,” Durrant says. As a creative work, though? “You really quickly get the limitations.” 

The most widespread use of AI in podcasts is humans utilising the technology to make content creation an easier process. These tools can simplify tasks like removing background noise or clarifying mumbled words. And some are playing around with the idea of cloning their voices for advertisements.

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