The San Diego Comic-Con is currently taking place amidst ongoing strikes by writers and actors. During the event, prominent voice actors and leaders of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) raised concerns about one of the biggest challenges facing the industry: AI.
This concern gained more attention after Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator of SAG-AFTRA, revealed the shocking proposal by Hollywood studios regarding AI. The proposal suggests that studios should have the ability to pay a background actor for a single day’s work, scan their likeness, and use it indefinitely without any additional compensation or consent. This concept is reminiscent of the Black Mirror episode “Joan Is Awful,” which was noted by participants in a Comic-Con panel.
One of the panel participants, Ashly Burch from Mythic Quest and Horizon Zero Dawn, remarked, “I would like to personally thank Netflix for making us a promo video for exactly what we are fighting against.”
The panel, titled “AI in Entertainment: The Performers’ Perspective,” included Cissy Jones, Zeke Alton, Tim Friedlander, and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. Despite not having a spot in the prestigious Hall H, the panel drew a large crowd, demonstrating the significance of the issue even among fans. During a press conference, Crabtree-Ireland even discussed how cosplayers can show their support for the strikes.
Crabtree-Ireland referred to the “Joan Is Awful” episode when discussing their fight for “informed consent” in AI technology. In the episode, characters unknowingly gave away their rights due to hidden stipulations in contracts and terms and conditions.
“You can’t bury stuff in a 300-page contract and then use that to affect somebody’s life.
Crabtree-Ireland stated, “That’s one of the issues that we’re fighting over in our AI proposals, is the issue of real consent. Not fake consent, where it’s buried in a contract. Real consent. And if it’s not, then it’s not right and it’s not acceptable… you can’t bury stuff in a 300-page contract and then use that to affect somebody’s life. That’s not okay.”
Alton highlighted three key elements they are fighting for in terms of protection: global laws, provisions in collectively bargained contracts, and transparent technology. Alton emphasized the need for transparent technology to ensure actors can understand and have control over how their voices are used in AI systems.
While AI is a concern for all actors, the panelists stressed the importance of voice actors taking an active stance. When asked if AI could destroy the entertainment industry, Crabtree-Ireland responded, “it definitely could; the question is, are we going to let that happen?”
“Voice acting is kind of at the tip of the spear in terms of how AI can actually either be used to lift people up and enhance the opportunities that actors and others have, or be used in a negative way, to steal their voices, to crush human creativity,” he added. “And we need to be very vigilant about that.”
Friedlander discussed how AI has affected voice actors, specifically mentioning how synthetic versions of their performances have been used in the mod community. He referenced the recent discovery of AI-generated Skyrim mods that used synthetic voice actors’ performances in inappropriate content.
“It becomes dangerous for them, it becomes damaging to their families.
Friedlander stated, “When you start to get to the point of taking these recognizable voices, putting them into an AI to get them to say something that they’ve never, ever said, and it then moves into pornographic content, it becomes a big line that a lot of voice actors are not happy having crossed. It becomes dangerous for them, it becomes damaging to their families.”
Currently, there are limited protections for voice actors when it comes to AI, as Burch pointed out. She explained, “There is a provision – if you are a voice actor, it is in your contract right now – that they own your voice across the universe for the end of time in perpetuity, in all mediums.” Jones added, “In any technology currently existing or to be developed.”
Despite acknowledging the difficulty of reversing this trend, Jones expressed optimism about working with NAVA (National Association of Voice Actors) to establish ethical frameworks within AI. She mentioned a free waiver available on the NAVA website that addresses some of the major concerns of voice actors.
Overall, the panelists agreed that individuals must push back against corporations and assert control and consent over their own identities.
“All of us can stand up to the abusive use of technology to really say, ‘we’re going to say what can be done with our bodies, our voices, our faces, our likenesses’,” Crabtree-Ireland asserted. “And we must do that.”
Thumbnail credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Denial of responsibility! SamacharCentrl is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.