Voice Actors Are Fighting Back Against Generative AI


“We’ve got to reject the idea that [AI] is just something that’s going to happen to us and we can’t say anything about it,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland at the beginning of a panel focusing on AI and entertainment. “I think it definitely could, the question is whether we’re going to let that happen.”

Variety reports that Crabtree-Ireland joined voice actors at an intimate panel at San Diego Comic-Con, which spoke about the specifics of generative AI’s threat to artists and working actors. On the panel were voice actors who are a part of the National Association of Voice Actors (NAVA), including Linsay Rousseau (God of War: Ragnarok), Ashly Burch (Mythic Quest), Cissy Jones (The Owl House), Zeke Alton (Call of Duty) and Tim Friedlander (Record of Ragnarok). Friedlander is also the NAVA president and founder.

The panel primarily discussed how to mitigate the concerns of allowing AI to generate lines that the actors didn’t agree or consent to read. Actors talked about putting talent first provisions in contracts and staring companies that would make sure that any AI was used in concert with actors and would also include provisions for appropriate compensation.

Crabtree-Ireland stated that in addition to fighting AI within the entertainment business, AI posed an existential threat, not necessarily because of what it’s able to do right now, but how it could be used in the future, and by whom. “All of us could 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,’ and we must do that.”

“I don’t want the next generation of voice actors to not have the potential to build a life that we’ve been able to build in this business,” said Burch. Also discussed at the panel was the fact controlling language is already commonplace in contracts, and without proper protection “your first job could potentially be your last job,” said Friedlander.


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