Actors launch campaign against AI ‘show stealers’

Image credit: BBC

According to a union, artificial intelligence (AI) threatens actors’ livelihoods unless legislation changes. Equity, the union for performers, has launched a new campaign called “Stop AI Stealing the Show.”

AI may create content using samples of an actor’s voice or visage, including so-called “deep fakes.”

According to Equity, actors’ voices and likenesses can be exploited in a variety of ways. For example, actors may collaborate with AI companies to develop systems that may generate artificial voice-overs or assist them in creating digital “avatars.”

AI can also be used to create “synthetic” performances, allowing for the appearance of deceased performers in films in specific situations.

While AI-generated performances can be a beneficial creative tool, the union is concerned that actors may not always be able to control how their image is used, or that their likeness may be exploited without their agreement or for insufficient compensation.

Celebrity “deep fake” videos created by AI are becoming increasingly popular on the internet.

According to the union, most actors who work with AI businesses are unaware of their rights, and many are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The organisation discovered that 93 per cent of audio artists believed AI posed a threat to their employment opportunities in a survey of 430 members.

According to the company, Equity is particularly concerned about the advancement of digital voice technology for automated audiobook production.

In 2018, the Canadian voiceover artist recorded roughly 10,000 phrases of audio for the Chinese Institute of Acoustics, a government-backed scientific organisation, to use in translations.

Ms Standing said, however, that her voice was later used by TikTok in a feature that turned writing into speech, which could then be played over videos posted to the app, often to humorous effect.

The union claims that current copyright laws do not adequately protect performers because AI “reproduces performances without making a recording or a copy.”

Equity wants the government to defend performers’ rights and change copyright rules to “keep up with technological development.”

However, there may be fears that modifications to copyright laws may impede innovation or have a harmful influence on free expression.