Actors oppose signing their voices for AI entertainment
Hot potato: The meteoric rise of generative artificial intelligence over the past few months may be exciting for large companies looking to turn a profit, but it also raises concerns about how the technology will affect a wide range of jobs, from lawyers and programmers to creators. and teachers are potentially at risk. One industry that is also concerned about AI is voice actors, many of whom are now being asked to relinquish rights to their voices so they can be digitally generated; a technique that could replace the actors themselves.
The ability to generate the voices of actors has made it possible to create shows and films that were not possible many years ago. James Earl Jones, for example, gave his blessing to artificially recreate the voice of Darth Vader, a role he played for 45 years, in the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi series, making his vocals sound like they did in 1977. And director Joseph Kosinski said Iceman’s voice was digitally altered for clarity in Top Gun: Maverick due to actor Val Kilmer’s medical condition.
But there is a less positive side to the use of AI in the voice industry. More actors are now contractually required to give up the rights to their voices, sometimes without compensation. Motherboard. The publication notes that now many companies offer voice cloning, generation or synthesis services at a price of $ 30 per month. Several websites offer this service by simply downloading the recordings, allowing the voice to be synthesized without the consent of the owner.
Frieda Wolf, who has voiced games including Apex Legends, said: “Game developers, animation studios and maybe even commercial clients can get away with squeezing more performances out of me by giving my voice to AI using these generated representations and then never compensating me for using my ‘likeness’, let alone informing my agency that it was done.”
Tim Friedlander, president and founder of the National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA), said contracts that allow producers to synthesize actors’ voices, often without additional compensation, are now “very common” and actors sometimes don’t realize it. these items have been added. Sometimes those who object are told they won’t be hired if they don’t agree to the terms.
While Hollywood stars are unlikely to feel the impact of having their voices digitally generated, those trying to infiltrate the business and work full-time to make ends meet may suffer. “These jobs will be lost to synthetic votes in the first place and will hurt a large part of the industry,” Friedländer said.
Voice generation technology is constantly improving. Microsoft’s AI voice tool, called Vall-E, can reproduce a person’s voice down to its timbre and emotional tone after listening to just a three-second snippet. As with deepfakes, there are concerns about the potential misuse of these tools, such as impersonating politicians or tricking people into believing they are talking to family, friends or officials and passing on sensitive data.
Sungwon Cho, a game and animation voice actor who also uses the name ProZD, summed up the feelings of many actors. “I am totally against it. Voice synthesis takes away the soul and spontaneity of a live performance.” He added, “I can only hope that synthetic voices disappear entirely, but at the very least, actors should be able to disagree with their use.”