SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal

SAG-AFTRA and Replica Studios announce a "groundbreaking" agreement at CES governing the use of AI to recreate voice talent for use in video games. Word is: "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, allowing AAA video game studios and other companies working with Replica to access top SAG-AFTRA talent." Here's more:
The agreement between the leading AI voice company and the world's largest performers’ union will enable Replica to engage SAG-AFTRA members under a fair, ethical agreement to safely create and license a digital replica of their voice. Licensed voices can be used in video game development and other interactive media projects from pre-production to final release.

Approved by affected members of the union’s voiceover performer community, this contract marks an important step towards the ethical use of AI voices in creative projects by game developers, and sets the basis for fair and equitable employment of voice actors as they explore the new revenue opportunities provided by AI. In addition to establishing minimum terms and conditions, the agreement ensures performer consent and negotiation for uses of their digital voice double and requires that performers have the opportunity to opt out of its continued use in new works.
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29.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 14, 2024, 21:32
29.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 14, 2024, 21:32
Jan 14, 2024, 21:32
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 16:57:
AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that don't belong to anyone.
...
When a person's voice, accent etc. can be extracted into an N-dimensional matrix of attributes, then a brand new variant can be created easily by AI.

This is already the case.
The voice generating AI software I use already just takes a "seed", just like a Minecraft world or stable diffusion image or anything else using generative AI... and from that seed it makes a random voice using the matrix of attributes that the AI model has developed.

Using the model to analyze the text input, it does its best to match the emotional tone and even does character voice changes etc. since it was probably trained on massive amounts of audio book content. So like it's one "person's" voice but when they read a female character they modulate that voice differently than they would a male voice, just as they would between a sentence that seems sad vs one that seems angry etc.. It's pretty neat.

It's definitely not perfect, but will only get better.
The "Honest Conferences" skits on Youtube use AI voices I believe, and it sounds very convincing. Sure they don't use extreme emotions, but just listening to it didn't raise any red flags to me that it was AI.
28.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 14, 2024, 21:29
28.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 14, 2024, 21:29
Jan 14, 2024, 21:29
 
Midnight wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 04:51:
Razumen wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 03:40:
Anyways, this is good news overall. This technology isn't going away, and it's better for VA's to have some sort of handle on it sooner rather than later.
The people telling you that this technology "isn't going away" are the people making money from it. It can go away, or at least be properly regulated, but it's not going to happen if people just keep shrugging their shoulders and going along with it.
Oh yes, I'm sure there were people that also thought the printing press or automobiles would "go away" if people would just stop shrugging their shoulders and going along with all that darn annoying technological progress... 🙄
27.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 11, 2024, 11:35
27.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 11, 2024, 11:35
Jan 11, 2024, 11:35
 
AI replicated "George Carlin" 1 hour special.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kONMe7YnO8
Avatar 58799
26.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 16:57
26.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 16:57
Jan 10, 2024, 16:57
 
AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that don't belong to anyone.
...
When a person's voice, accent etc. can be extracted into an N-dimensional matrix of attributes, then a brand new variant can be created easily by AI.

This is already the case.
The voice generating AI software I use already just takes a "seed", just like a Minecraft world or stable diffusion image or anything else using generative AI... and from that seed it makes a random voice using the matrix of attributes that the AI model has developed.

Using the model to analyze the text input, it does its best to match the emotional tone and even does character voice changes etc. since it was probably trained on massive amounts of audio book content. So like it's one "person's" voice but when they read a female character they modulate that voice differently than they would a male voice, just as they would between a sentence that seems sad vs one that seems angry etc.. It's pretty neat.

It's definitely not perfect, but will only get better.
Avatar 17249
25.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 13:02
25.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 13:02
Jan 10, 2024, 13:02
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 10:11:
BicycleRepairMan wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 06:23:
I think voice acting will be dead in a couple of years. AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that dont belong to anyone.

On the plus side, I think this might be atleast interesting for singleplayer games, where AI could soon generate lines and "record" them on the fly, in response to what the player does, it might make for a much deeper experience, instead of NPC's repeating prerecorded lines like now..

This is exactly it. Why use an expensive celebrity when you can now concoct a voice that doesn't sound like a computer and has unique characteristics? Sure, it will put some people out of that specific job, but isn't that what computers have always done? People will adjust

Right. And "unique" characteristics is a good point here. I would very much welcome more unique voices. The gaming industry is almost as incestuous as the public television TV shows over here (Germany). It is borderline immersion-breaking sometimes. You constantly hear the same voices/actors in all sorts of games and all sorts of roles.
Or at least sometimes I think I do and when I google who voices character X in a certain game then it may not be who I thought it was but it sounded almost exactly like the actor who voiced character Y in that other game.

There are some very unique voices out there, of course, but let's face it there are also a lot of interchangeable voices that are already kind of generic, even without AI involved. And then there is the issue of filtering, of course. Barely any voice is not changed by a computer at the recording studio anyway.
Or, the issue of the actors themselves disguising their own voice. Like, go and look up any interview with Doug Cockle (Geralt of Rivia voice actor). When he talks normally, you would never in a million years be able to guess that he is 'The Witcher'.

So, on a whole I don't see this as a big deal from a consumer's point of view. It is a big deal for the actors, of course, because some of them might have to switch jobs to flipping burgers Wink but I'm sure that there will always be a market for the truly unique and charismatic voices (R.I.P Lance Reddick) for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I would really love more change and diversity. It is jarring and annoying to constantly hear the same voices across all sorts of games.
-=Threadcrappeur Extraordinaire=-
24.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 12:19
24.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 12:19
Jan 10, 2024, 12:19
 
Regarding AI taking over voice actors, I'm not sure they'll be completely on their own in the grand scheme. Part of what helps a cartoon/animation sell sometimes has to do with who the actor is voicing the character. It helps knowing the actual real life human did the voice than a fake AI that sounds just like them. Granted, I'm sure we'll get into plenty of fake advertising in the future. They'll say, "Yoda! VOICED BY JOHN OLIVER!", when the reality is they asked John if they could render his AI voice, pay him a nice fee to do that and let them go ham on putting together the movie. All without the need of pulling John Oliver out of his bed and over to the studio to do the work.

Though certainly for any smaller roles/shows that don't need a big actor representing a character, AI will be the cheap, quick alternative to go with than paying an unknown voice over to put in some work.
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23.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 11:50
23.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 11:50
Jan 10, 2024, 11:50
 
Agent Smith said it: Inevitable.

Animatrix.dojo came out in 2003, it was already clear then.

James Earl Jones let AI take over the voice of Darth Vader last september for perpetuity.

Imagine Keanu Reeves licensing his persona, we could have John Wick forever and allow us to miss him a little less when he is gone.

Will something like the X years copyright's end apply in the future to deceased people ?.
Remember the 2012 movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ? Replace the hero with the "real" article, demeanor and voice -not possible of course, no movies or audio from him-.

Then movies like Lord of the Rings 2, 3, 4, 5 ... with the original actors would be a no brainer in the future.

A movie with Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Sean Connery, Mirna Loy, Marlon Brando, Pacino and De Niro when they still gave a fart ... right away.

This comment was edited on Jan 10, 2024, 12:11.
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22.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 11:48
El Pit
 
22.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 11:48
Jan 10, 2024, 11:48
 El Pit
 
So, in the end the games and movie/tv/streaming industry will have many copied AI voices of in many cases late actors available so that new voice actors will be no longer needed or will have to pay for minimal wages because of the always available, never asking for more money AI voices. "You want HOW MUCH?! Nah, thanks. We have AI Conroy who is working at a flat rate at 24 hrs a day without ever getting sick or needy." And later on, it will not only be the voices that will be AI copies working for cheap... This is the dark side of this whole AI actors/voices future. The bright side is that even small studios or even single developers will be able to use AI voices (I guess many good amateur voices will be available for small money or even free just like e.g. photos are nowadays) or even AI copies of real people (bodies/faces/movment) for their games which will make games be more immersive for gamers in many cases. Silent or 8-bit beeps will be limited to artsy pixel games. I like that part of the whole AI thing moving on.
"There is no right life in the wrong one." (Theodor W. Adorno, philosopher)
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi)
Founder, president, and only member of the official "Grumpy Old Gamers Club". Please do not apply.
21.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 11:37
21.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 11:37
Jan 10, 2024, 11:37
 
Too much complicated off-topic intercourse. It's pretty simple to me: A deal is better than no deal or a strike, at least for the consumer. And usually for the artist, unless that deal is terrible. I have no details on how good or bad the deal here is, but people agreed to do it. Would you rather see gaming go through what we saw in TV where scripted shows are STILL not quite back in full swing after a year of nothing but cheap reality shows and reruns?
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20.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 11:11
Prez
 
20.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 11:11
Jan 10, 2024, 11:11
 Prez
 
First of all Midnight, I am sorry if you thought I was accusing you of being a doom and gloomer. What I said was merely meant to say that regardless of what you choose, this is happening. Doom and gloom is not a good choice in my opinion. The problem with talking about regulation at this stage is that we don't even know what exactly we have to regulate against. We have an idea, and we can put forth basic rules to begin with, but there can't be any meaningful regulation until we get a better idea of what we realistically have to keep control of. As of now we only have theoretical ideas of progression and science fiction. If you want regulation in the form of ensuring that voice actors will always have a job, I'm sorry but I can't get behind that. No one is owed employment in any one field. When I was working I had to pivot my career and keep myself employable a couple of times. It sucks, but it always has been and probably always will be a reality.

To your point that art needs to involve human creation, I absolutely agree. The question of whether it always will I look at as kind of irrelevant because if the time comes when AI can create complex and deep creative expression all on its own it will be so far in the future that your children's children's children's children might have to start worrying about it, but we sure won't. That is not to say that some aspects of the creation of art will not be turned over to computers. It has already happened. When I was just starting out in guitar, the way it was recorded was pretty different (and definitely more cumbersome) than the ease by which it is done today, all due to computers using digital processing. Unfortunately, the time is coming that AI will replace the need for voice actors. It's not here yet, so it's not time to panic, but we all can sense it. Not knowing the technology very well, I can still surmise that for a complex part in a videogame a human voice actor is still required. But to deny that the field is narrowing and some voice actors (and I assume eventually movie actors, but I'm not sure) are going to be out of work going forward is to deny reality. I don't deny that sucks, but that is the price of advancement.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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19.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
19.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
 
BicycleRepairMan wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 06:23:
I think voice acting will be dead in a couple of years. AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that dont belong to anyone.

On the plus side, I think this might be atleast interesting for singleplayer games, where AI could soon generate lines and "record" them on the fly, in response to what the player does, it might make for a much deeper experience, instead of NPC's repeating prerecorded lines like now..

This is exactly it. Why use an expensive celebrity when you can now concoct a voice that doesn't sound like a computer and has unique characteristics? Sure, it will put some people out of that specific job, but isn't that what computers have always done? People will adjust
Avatar 12787
18.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
18.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
Jan 10, 2024, 10:11
 
Prez wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 07:34:
I'm sure that companies that made harnesses or built carriages or raised horses didn't like the idea of these 'automobiles' and told people not to give in to the pressure to buy them and keep using their horse-driven buggies. That feels like the same thing that you are preaching here.

We're not just talking about jobs, we're talking about taking the human element out of the arts. I don't think there's a real historical precedent for this. Many of the visual artists opposed to generative AI (such as myself) started as traditional artists (pencil/paint) and moved to digital tools. We're not opposed to new technology, and we actually love software that automates the more mundane or tedious parts of creative work. But that's not what generative AI does - it bypasses the human element of art: The story, the character, the emotion, the action, and how to convey that through line, shape, composition, light and shadow.

It cannot go away. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube as they say. The technology is barely even in its infancy yet; more like still a fetus, but there is absolutely no stopping it. That creates a lot of problems, but it creates a lot of opportunities too. The potential problems it creates go far beyond whether voice actors will still be working in a few years. I am not celebrating this at all trust me, but in 10 years things are going to look very different I think and for many more people than just actors. Be all doom and gloom if you want (you'll fit in great here) but if I have learned anything it's that progress does not stop, and it doesn't wait for you to come to terms with it. And I can assure you, I am not making any money from it and I would prefer those who will be making money off it weren't.

History is full of technologies that have been restricted and regulated, and sometimes outright banned because it was decided that the costs outweighed the benefits. We, as consumers, need to make it clear that we want our art to be made by humans. I'm not being "doom and gloom", I'm actually trying to hold on to the hope that we can still turn this around.
17.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 09:19
17.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 09:19
Jan 10, 2024, 09:19
 
Jim wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 09:10:
Eh, just wait until someone makes an gameGPT where an AI generates everything in UE5, making game companies obsolete. Afterall if 1 person can make a game then an AI can replace what that one person does. And then companies like UBI will be able to produce a new farcry / assassins creed every year, where new games are mostly similar but different to prior games.

Yeah, but the final hurdle of how good AI can be I think ultimately falls to creativity. Just how creative can AI put together a game that is unique and fun?

A guy at my job had ChatGPT put together a Batman story for him as a huge fan of the comics. He said the story it put together was spliced together from multiple comics. He was aware where it pulled each aspect from which comic to get the story it came up with. That to me is not creative.
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16.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 09:10
Jim
16.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 09:10
Jan 10, 2024, 09:10
Jim
 
Eh, just wait until someone makes an gameGPT where an AI generates everything in UE5, making game companies obsolete. Afterall if 1 person can make a game then an AI can replace what that one person does. And then companies like UBI will be able to produce a new farcry / assassins creed every year, where new games are mostly similar but different to prior games.
15.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 08:41
15.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 08:41
Jan 10, 2024, 08:41
 
BicycleRepairMan wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 06:23:
I think voice acting will be dead in a couple of years. AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that dont belong to anyone.

On the plus side, I think this might be atleast interesting for singleplayer games, where AI could soon generate lines and "record" them on the fly, in response to what the player does, it might make for a much deeper experience, instead of NPC's repeating prerecorded lines like now..

This is the best comment yet.
I can only see this contract with the voice actors as something temporary, because who needs them in 2-3 years? You could just as easily use your aunt's voice for free if you really want a human, as the computer will be doing the acting, and the dialog writing. When a person's voice, accent etc. can be extracted into an N-dimensional matrix of attributes, then a brand new variant can be created easily by AI.
Avatar 57107
14.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 08:25
14.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 08:25
Jan 10, 2024, 08:25
 
I'm thinking how this could of made Terminator's voice better in Mortal Kombat 11, lol.

Soundalike people, no matter how much they can sound alike, they're no substitution for the real voice that you're accustomed to hearing.
Avatar 16605
13.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 07:34
Prez
 
13.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 07:34
Jan 10, 2024, 07:34
 Prez
 
Midnight wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 04:51:
Razumen wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 03:40:
Anyways, this is good news overall. This technology isn't going away, and it's better for VA's to have some sort of handle on it sooner rather than later.
The people telling you that this technology "isn't going away" are the people making money from it. It can go away, or at least be properly regulated, but it's not going to happen if people just keep shrugging their shoulders and going along with it.

I'm sure that companies that made harnesses or built carriages or raised horses didn't like the idea of these 'automobiles' and told people not to give in to the pressure to buy them and keep using their horse-driven buggies. That feels like the same thing that you are preaching here. It cannot go away. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube as they say. The technology is barely even in its infancy yet; more like still a fetus, but there is absolutely no stopping it. That creates a lot of problems, but it creates a lot of opportunities too. The potential problems it creates go far beyond whether voice actors will still be working in a few years. I am not celebrating this at all trust me, but in 10 years things are going to look very different I think and for many more people than just actors. Be all doom and gloom if you want (you'll fit in great here) but if I have learned anything it's that progress does not stop, and it doesn't wait for you to come to terms with it. And I can assure you, I am not making any money from it and I would prefer those who will be making money off it weren't.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
12.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 06:23
12.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 06:23
Jan 10, 2024, 06:23
 
I think voice acting will be dead in a couple of years. AI will soon (if not already) easily be able to create synthetic, unique voices that dont belong to anyone.

On the plus side, I think this might be atleast interesting for singleplayer games, where AI could soon generate lines and "record" them on the fly, in response to what the player does, it might make for a much deeper experience, instead of NPC's repeating prerecorded lines like now..
11.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 04:51
11.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 04:51
Jan 10, 2024, 04:51
 
Razumen wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 03:40:
Anyways, this is good news overall. This technology isn't going away, and it's better for VA's to have some sort of handle on it sooner rather than later.
The people telling you that this technology "isn't going away" are the people making money from it. It can go away, or at least be properly regulated, but it's not going to happen if people just keep shrugging their shoulders and going along with it.
10.
 
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal
Jan 10, 2024, 03:40
10.
Re: SAG-AFTRA AI Voice Deal Jan 10, 2024, 03:40
Jan 10, 2024, 03:40
 
LDAsh wrote on Jan 10, 2024, 02:11:
Not sure why they're so excited at the prospect of having droning mind-numbing dialogue that's bereft of any personality or emotion. Maybe they haven't spent enough time listening to the actual output? Maybe for them it's just something people are talking about? It's also strange they'd rather spend time training the models with datasets of speech samples when it's likely the same amount of time could be spent just performing the actual screenplay? Maybe for multiple projects, that could be make sense, but I'm not sure how long they'd stay in business once they try that first initial attempt, after the backlash they'd get from their audience for the terrible performances. I predict this too will not last very long. Voice actors could then use this as an opportunity for higher compensation for their skill and talent, which isn't something an algorithm can have.
Voice reproduction is pretty good now, and can actually mimic emotion and other nuances. It's not perfect of course, but it's way better than most people think, because most of what they hear is from tech that was old years ago.

Anyways, this is good news overall. This technology isn't going away, and it's better for VA's to have some sort of handle on it sooner rather than later.
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