Jan 9, 2024 - Technology

Actors union inks deal for voice actors who fear AI

Illustration of a microphone on top of a stack of dollars.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Screen Actors Guild announced a deal with Replica Studios setting terms for voice actors that require guaranteed minimum payment and consent when actors' voices are digitally replicated for voice-overs.

Why it matters: The agreement with Replica, a platform calling itself an "Ethical AI" option for voice actors, offers one path forward for companies to harness generative AI while also supporting creators, and could serve as a model for other studios to use.

Between the lines: Video game actors have been among the most vocal groups raising concerns over AI-assisted voice-overs.

The big picture: Hollywood actors saw groundbreaking AI provisions in the contract reached with studios in November, but the battle is far from over.

  • Right now it's still easier to duplicate the sound of an actor's voice than to create videos that convincingly replicate their appearance and movement.
  • The New York Times recently spotted an unauthorized AI-generated version of Taylor Swift's voice in Facebook ads for Le Creuset cookware.

What they're saying: "AI technology is not something we can block. It's not something we can stop. That's not a tactic or a strategy that's ever worked for labor in the past," Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union's executive director, said at a press event at CES, per Variety.

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