Artists Says AI Is Stealing Our Voices

AI-generated art saw a huge boom towards the end of 2022. This was due to a combination of social media and artist-friendly sites like Artstation. Although human artists have voiced concerns that art generators copy art from creators, AI art is slowly becoming part of this community. A similar problem is now being faced in the space of voice acting.

Motherboard published a story earlier in the week about how voice actors are being asked to give away their rights to company-run AI generators when they sign on to a new project. Some actors must sign contracts with these clauses, while others may not be aware of the clause until they’ve signed. Regardless of the outcome, it is very concerning that AI voices could take over roles from actors of any size, especially those trying to enter the industry.

Fryda Wolff is a voice actor most well-known for Apex Legends. She explained to Motherboard what AI-generated voices could mean for actors and how they can get paid properly, especially for those who work with animation studios and game developers. They could get away with squeezing more performances out of me by feeding my voice to Artificial Intelligence, using these generated performances, and then never paying me for using my ‘likeness,’ never mind informing my agency that this was done.

Sungwon Cho stated that it was disrespectful to the craft to suggest that creating an AI-generated performance is equal to a human being. It is possible to make it sound more human-like or even capture an emotion, but in the end, it is still going to ring hollow and false.”

AI is stealing voice of artist

Long-standing voice actors like Stephanie Sheh, Kara Edwards, and Steve Blum recently used Twitter to request that fans let them know when their voices were being used in AI voice apps.

AI is stealing voice of artist
AI is stealing voice of artist

Blum wrote, “I understand that AI technology is exciting. But if you hear my voice or any characters I voice on any of the sites, please be aware that I have never given my permission, and I will not.” Blum stated, “This is extremely unethical.”

Artist says AI is stealing voice of artist

Permission has been a key concern regarding AI voices and art. Artists whose works are being used for AI often don’t grant it. Instead, their fans or websites make the decision.

Sarah Elmaleh, an actor, told Motherboard that consent must be continuous for performances. What happens if we agree to play a part but then, when we get in the booth, see a line that isn’t right for us and express discomfort? We are normally able to refuse to read the line to stop it from being used. This technology, however, avoids all of that.”

AI will continue to be part of the entertainment industry, with actors signing away their voices to AI companies and studios actively collaborating with this technology, for example, this one.

It is quite depressing to see artistically-minded fields being affected by the optimization mindset of tech companies. It’s not the future that its supporters would like to proclaim, even though it is a promising industry. However, it doesn’t mean you can lose the passion and hard work that only comes from human interaction.

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