Nov 28, 2023 - Technology

Why you should own your own digital identity in the age of AI

Metaphysic CEO Tom Graham. Photo: Eric Lee/Axios

In a future where AI can create realistic videos of anyone saying anything, the only way to stave off chaos might be to make sure individuals own the rights to their identities and likenesses.

What they're saying: Tom Graham — CEO of Metaphysic, a company that has turned heads with its AI-generated celebrity videos, like Deep Tom Cruise — made that case in an interview with Axios' Ina Fried at the AI+ Summit in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.

The big picture: Copyright rules and other laws governing AI-generated material are still largely unsettled and undefined.

  • In April, Graham filed to register a U.S. copyright in an AI version of himself — aiming to establish that such a thing is possible.
  • Graham said the creation of a new intellectual property right to one's own likeness would give someone the chance to seek remedies if a third party, for instance, tried to profit from realistic artificially generated images or audio that substantially resembled them.

Zoom out: With AI, "you can control and program what people believe is real," and that should carry a "tremendous responsibility" to use the technology ethically, Graham said.

  • In the physical world, controlling what happens to one's body is a fundamental human right, Graham noted, urging that a similar right be recognized for identifiable digital presentations of yourself.

Fair use is one legal principle that some tech firms invoke to defend using data to train AI without having obtained permission.

  • "I do not believe there is a fair use case for making a photorealistic version of somebody saying or doing something against their consent," Graham said.
Go deeper