We’re currently in an awkward, troubling spot when it comes to artificial intelligence. The rapidly evolving tech has its upsides, but also many disturbing downsides. AI regulation was even a key concern during the WGA strike, and ditto the ongoing SAG-AFTRA one. Actors are rightly worried about unlicensed imitations. Tom Hanks recently called out an AI video that ripped his likeness. Meanwhile Robin Williams’ daughter had a similar gripe.
As per IndieWire, Zelda Williams, who is also a performer, used her Instagram Stories to talk about who AI had become a “horrendous Frankensteinian monster” that impersonates celebrities, including her late father, who died in 2014.
“I am not an impartial voice in SAG’s fight against AI. I’ve witnessed for YEARS how many people want to train these models to create/recreate actors who cannot consent, like Dad,” wrote Zelda. “This isn’t theoretical, it is very, very real. I’ve already heard AI used to get his ‘voice’ to say whatever people want and while I find it personally disturbing, the ramifications go beyond my own feelings.”
She added, “Living actors deserve a chance to create characters with their choices, to voice cartoons, to put their HUMAN effort and time into the pursuit of performance. These recreations are, at their very best, a poor facsimile of greater people, but at their worst, a horrendous Frankensteinian monster, cobbled together from the worst bits of everything this industry is, instead of what it should stand for.”
Williams joins a growing throng of actors who’ve called out AI for its dangerous possibilities. Earlier this year no less than Keanu Reeves reflected on how AI and similar tech like deepfakes are “scary.” It’s probably wise to listen to someone who starred in a franchise about computers enslaving humans.