SAG-AFTRA Inks Controversial Deal to Allow AI-Generated Voice Acting

After spending months on strike over the use of artificial intelligence in media, the Screen Actor’s Guild has decided to allow the use of AI “voice acting” in video games. In a press release, SAG-AFTRA announced that during this year’s annual CES conference in Las Vegas, it had signed a deal with the AI voiceover firm Replica Studios to set the rules of engagement for AI voice cloning, or the replication of a human voice actor’s speech that can then be deployed for various purposes, in video games. “This new agreement paves the way for professional voice over artists to safely explore new employment opportunities for their digital voice replicas with industry-leading protections tailored to AI technology,” the statement reads, allowing “video game studios and other companies working with Replica to access top SAG-AFTRA talent.” Though the deal seems to be geared more towards licensing actors’ voices in games rather than outright replacing them, it nevertheless seems like a pretty jarring about-face after the union initiated a work stoppage that grounded Hollywood to a halt for more than three months as actors and their allies picketed for their right not to be replaced by AI. Though the press release explains that the deal was “approved by affected members of the union’s voiceover performer community,” it’s unclear whether that means voice actors voted on the deal or were engaged in a more informal approval process. In a statement to IGN, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland implied that the…SAG-AFTRA Inks Controversial Deal to Allow AI-Generated Voice Acting

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