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Celebrities Are Upset About The Misuse Of AI-generated Videos

Eman Hillis Eman Hillis
5th October 2023
Celebrities Are Upset About The Misuse Of AI-generated Videos
Actors fear that they might lose their jobs due to AI (Getty)

Amidst the rise of AI and the spread of deep fake and fabricated videos, AI-generated videos are getting misused constantly in different aspects for different purposes. Many actors, public figures, and writers have spoken out against AI, fearing that they might lose their jobs, or criticizing the use of their looks and voice without their consent.

Tom Hanks Warns About An AI Ad Of Him

On Saturday, September 2, Hanks posted a warning on his Instagram account warning his fans of a circulated AI-generated ad of him. “Beware!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” Hanks posted with a background of a younger image of him and without mentioning the name of the company that ran the ad.

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This is not the first time the Oscar winner expressed his concerns about AI. In an episode of The Adam Buxton Podcast, Hanks said that his performances could go on even if he was to get hit by a bus the next morning. “Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI or deep fake technology,” he said. Hanks has always wondered if people will care whether the Hanks they see is the real one or not. “There are some people that won’t care, that won’t make that delineation,” Hanks continued.

Although Hanks has expressed his concerns about AI several times, he once approved the digitally altered version of himself in a film. In 2004, In The Polar Express film, an American computer-animated Christmas musical fantasy film, Hanks was featured on it as a CGI. He was also de-aged using AI in A Man Called Otto film. Moreover, Hanks will have his looks de-aged using AI tools in his next movie.

Hanks expected that AI could be used this way. “We saw this coming,” he said in The Adam Buxton Podcast. “We saw that there was going to be this ability in order to take zeros and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character. Now that has only grown a billion-fold since then, and we see it everywhere.”

In January, it was announced that “Here”, the upcoming movie of Tom Hanks and Robin Wright will use new hyperrealistic technology, including AI-generated face replacements to de-age the actors, allowing them to tell a story about generations.

Robert Zemeckis, the director of Here, said, “I’ve always been attracted to technology that helps me to tell a story.” Zemeckis believes that the film would not work without transforming the actors into younger versions of themselves. “Having tested every flavor of face replacement and de-aging technology available today, Metaphysic are clearly the global leaders in feature-quality AI content and the perfect choice for this incredibly challenging, emotional film,” he continued.

Two Days After Hanks’ Warning, Gayle King Warns To Not Be Fooled By AI Videos

Just 2 days after Tom Hanks warned his fans of the deep fake video of him, Gayle King, the CBS Mornings host, has also a deep fake AI advertisement of her, where she appears to promote a weight loss product. The video was apparently altered by a company named Artipet, in which they used King’s likeness and voice to promote weight loss products.

She posted on her Instagram account that she originally posted the video in question to promote her radio show on August 31, but the company manipulated the video. ”I’ve never heard of this product or used it! Please don’t be fooled by these AI videos,” she warned her followers.

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Despite all the facts that AI tools could help directors very much, actors are currently on strike partly over the use of AI in this industry, fearing that AI could lead them to lose their jobs by creating AI versions of themselves without their permission. Besides Hanks and King, Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda has also recently spoken out against the misuse of AI.

Robin Williams’ Daughter Criticized The Recreations Of Her Father’s Voice

Robin Williams, the American adored actor who has starred in many famous movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Dead Poets Society, died by suicide in 2014 at the age of 62, having Lewy Body Dementia.

After hearing of AI being used to recreate her father’s voice, Zelda Willaims, daughter of Robin Williams, took to her Instagram story on Sunday, October 2, and wrote a lengthy statement criticizing the recreation of her father’s voice:  “I am not an impartial voice in SAG’s fight against AI.”

“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,” she continued.

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A screenshot of Zelda Willliams’ story on Sunday, 2 October.

Christopher Nolan,  the filmmaker, was asked about his opinion on AI by Wired Magazine. Nolan criticized the “godlike” view that people tend to envision AI with. “The biggest danger of AI is that we attribute these godlike characteristics to it and therefore let ourselves off the hook. I don’t know what the mythological underpinnings of this are, but throughout history, there’s this tendency of human beings to create false idols, to mold something in our own image and then say we’ve got godlike powers because we did that,” Nolan said.

SAG-AFTRA’s Fight Against AI

Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is currently on strike over several issues for the survival of the profession. The reasons for the strike include income erosion. AI exploitation, and abusive self-tape demands. They say, “We’re up against a system where those in charge are multibillion-dollar.”

They demand that their images and performances should be protected and there should be a comprehensive set of provisions offering them fair compensation whenever their performance is changed using AI.

On the other hand, AMPTP, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, wants, according to the official site of SAG-AFTRA, to make use of AI technology to create new scenes and make changes to principal performers’ dialogue “without informed consent.” Moreover, AMPTP wants to use an actor’s images, likenesses, and performances in training AI systems without consent or compensation. Both parties are still negotiating and have bargaining sessions.

Writers Guild of America’s Strike

Writers are also among those affected by artificial intelligence. Hence, the Writers Guild of America went on strike on May 2 over similar issues to the strike of the SAG-AFTRA strike, including residual formulas for streamed content and protections against the use of artificial intelligence.

The strike ended on Wednesday, September 27. It lasted 148 days, making it one of the longest work stoppages in Hollywood history. Writers were permitted to resume work at 12:02 a.m. after the leaders of the Writers Guild of America reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. 

The deal reached by WGA and AMPTP leaders included some solutions to the issues of salaries, health, and the use of AI. They have concluded that there should be restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence by studios. The agreement stated that those who use AI shall not be considered writers or professional writers. Thus, written material produced by AI is not considered literary material under this agreement or any prior MBA.

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