Would You Listen to a Podcast Made by AI?
A few creators and startups think you might, even though the current examples seem rather experimental
We weren’t exactly enthralled with Spotify’s artificial intelligence DJ, which spoke infrequently and offered little more than canned enthusiasm. So we can’t even imagine how bored we’d be with AI-crafted podcasts, which is apparently a thing.
According to Wired, these AI generative episodes, while currently few in volume, have actually developed an audience. Admittedly, the most popular of these is The Joe Rogan AI Experience, which uses AI to mimic Rogan’s voice and the voices of fake guests such as OpenAI’s Sam Altman and Donald Trump. The podcast even got linked from the real Rogan, who noted, “This is going to get very slippery, kids.”
We Tried Spotify’s New DJ Feature, an AI-Crafted Radio Station with Commentary
It's essentially your favorites in a playlist with a chatty AI-generated disc jockey
While the podcast racked up a half million views on YouTube, even its creator wasn’t impressed with the final product (which actually took weeks to edit). “Apart from listening to the podcast because of its technological advancement, there’s no point,” creator “Hugo” says. “It’s just wasted time.” As well, each follow-up episode has garnered fewer listeners.
Others, including an Isreal-based show called Myself, I Am and That that features the podcast creator talking to AI clones of himself, are currently only getting listeners by the dozens. The experimental ones are fun and just that: experimental and seemingly not designed to build an audience. However, the podcasting startup WondercraftAI (“studio quality podcasts in seconds”) has found a successful niche: Their podcast Hacker News Recap has AI hosts summarize top stories on the Y Combinator-run forum Hacker News. It’s currently a top 40 tech podcast on Apple.
What it lacks in charm it makes up in with consistency. “There’s nothing special to it. It’s the same content you’d find in any other tech podcast,” says WondercraftAI’s CEO Dimitris Nikolaou. “It’s more the fact that we can be so consistent and publish every morning, no matter what.”
In the end, there seems to be a market for podcast AI tools but limited use for extending the machines into writing or hosting…because podcasts thrive on community and, well, a human touch. “Summarized news articles do not represent the vast majority of popular podcasts,” as Wired‘s Kate Knibbs writes. “The medium is defined by intimacy, by listeners feeling like they are overhearing a chat between old friends, or sitting in the back of the room at a particularly brilliant panel.”
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