AI Recreations of Robin Williams are Disconcerting, Says Daughter Zelda

In this post:

  • Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams, voices her concern over AI recreations of her father’s image and voice.
  • The issue of AI recreations is at the center of the ongoing actors’ strike, with SAG-AFTRA making it a mandatory subject of bargaining.
  • Williams emphasizes the real and disturbing implications of using AI to recreate actors who cannot give consent, urging for the protection of living actors’ creative choices.

In the heart of the ongoing actors’ strike, the daughter of the iconic Robin Williams, Zelda Williams, has emerged as a vocal critic of the practice of AI recreations. In a poignant Instagram Story post, she expressed her deep concern over the use of artificial intelligence to recreate her father’s image and voice, highlighting the real and unsettling implications of this rapidly advancing technology.

AI recreations and consent

Zelda Williams took to Instagram to share her perspective on the unsettling practice of AI recreations, particularly concerning her father, Robin Williams. The late Oscar-winning actor and comedian, known for his unique improvisational skills, tragically passed away in 2014. Zelda’s concern centers around the lack of consent in recreating actors through AI, a topic that has become a focal point in the ongoing actors’ strike.

Zelda Williams acknowledges her lack of impartiality in the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) fight against AI, given her personal connection to the late actor. She unveils the stark reality of how people have sought to train AI models to recreate actors like her father, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. The ability to manipulate her father’s voice through AI has already been exploited to make him say things he never did, a practice that disturbs her deeply.

The broader issue, as highlighted by SAG-AFTRA, revolves around the ethical use of an actor’s image, voice, or performance to train AI systems for generating new content. The mandatory inclusion of AI recreations in the bargaining process signifies the industry’s recognition of the potential harm and misuse of this technology. Tim Burton and John Cusack have joined the chorus of voices expressing concern, likening AI recreations to a loss of humanity and even labeling it a “criminal enterprise.”

Zelda Williams underscores the need to protect the creative choices of living actors, urging for safeguards against the unauthorized use of their likeness in AI applications. She emphasizes the importance of allowing actors to shape characters through their own efforts, putting a human touch into the pursuit of performance.

WGA’s approach and the future of AI in creativity

Amidst the heated discussions surrounding AI recreations and the actors’ strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has taken a distinct approach to address the integration of artificial intelligence in creative processes. The WGA, concluding the recent writers’ strike, has struck a delicate balance between embracing the potential of AI and safeguarding the rights of human creators.

The agreement between the WGA and studios outlines specific restrictions on the use of AI in the creative realm. AI is prohibited from being used to write or rewrite literary material, ensuring that the human touch remains integral to the storytelling process. Importantly, writers have the autonomy to choose whether to incorporate AI into their work, providing a nuanced perspective on the coexistence of human creativity and artificial intelligence.

This proactive approach by the WGA sets a precedent for industry stakeholders to navigate the future of AI in creative endeavors. By establishing clear guidelines and boundaries, the WGA aims to harness the benefits of AI while preventing its misuse in ways that may compromise the essence of human creativity. As the entertainment industry grapples with the implications of AI, this negotiated path forward offers a glimpse into a future where technology and creativity coexist harmoniously.

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