Politics

Robin Williams’ Daughter Blasts AI Attempts To Recreate Her Father – ‘I Find It Personally Disturbing’


The daughter of the late great comedic actor Robin Williams, who tragically passed away back in 2014, is speaking out to say that she finds it “personally disturbing” that artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to recreate her father’s iconic voice.

‘Personally Disturbing’ 

Daily Mail reported that Zelda Williams, 34, recently took to her Instagram Story to give her thoughts on the dispute between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), with AI being one of the key factors in it.

“I’ve witnessed for YEARS how many people want want to train these [AI] models to create/recreate actors who cannot consent, like Dad,” she said. “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 far beyond my own feelings.”

This came after members of SAG and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) launched a strike back in May, partly to seek protection from AI, which is unrestricted at this time.

“This isn’t theoretical, it is very very real,” Zelda continued. “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 added.

Related: Tom Hanks Issues Chilling Warning After ‘AI Version’ Of Himself Is Used In Ad Without His Consent – ‘Beware’

Threat Of AI

This also came after it was announced that Robin’s voice will be used in a new short film, Once Upon a Studio, produced and distributed by Disney, according to The Hill. Robin’s iconic Aladdin animated character the Genie will appear in the movie.

Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, took to social media after this announcement to claim that the short film will actually be using “previously unheard dialogue” that was recorded by Robin, whose estate allegedly allowed for use of the dialogue.

That doesn’t change the very real threat that AI poses to entertainers, however.

“As of now, there are no entertainment union restrictions on generative AI models ingesting 100 years of films/series, slicing and dicing them, and then popping out patchwork spoonfuls of all that work,” said the former “Family Ties” star Justine Bateman, who is the AI advisor to the SAG talks.

When SAG President Fran Drescher announced the strike, she warned of actors being “replaced by robots,” adding to The Hollywood Reporter that “the digital age is cannibalizing us.”

Related: Elon Musk Issues Chilling Warning About AI – ‘Civilization Risk’

Robin’s Suicide 

Robin tragically committed suicide on August 11, 2014 at the age of 63 after battling anxiety, severe depression and what he had been told was Parkinson’s disease.

It was only after his death that an autopsy revealed that he had been misdiagnosed, and had instead been suffering from Lewy body dementia. Toxicology reports showed that Robin had antidepressants, caffeine and levodopa, a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease, in his system at the time of his passing.

These truly are some crazy times that we are living in, and AI is perhaps the biggest indication of that. Robin Williams was a true legend, and there will never be another one like him, so we can see why his daughter finds it “disturbing” that a piece of technology could be used to recreate the incredibly unique talents that he brought to the world during his lifetime.

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