AI Deepfakes in Hollywood: Innovation or Existential Threat?

JJohn August 24, 2023 11:47 PM

As Hollywood increasingly embraces artificial intelligence and deepfakes, actors and industry professionals are grappling with the technology's potential implications. With AI's ability to create personalized celebrity messages and synthetic performances, concerns about authenticity, ethics, and job security are on the rise.

AI's rise in personalized celebrity content

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the entertainment industry, making personalized celebrity messages and synthetic performances possible. For instance, with the help of AI tech partner Synthesia, UEFA Champions League teamed up with soccer star Lionel Messi to deliver tailored video messages to fans worldwide. Similarly, David Beckham participated in a malaria awareness campaign where AI was employed to make him "speak" nine languages. Furthermore, AI deepfakes have been used to recreate a younger version of action star Bruce Willis for a bank commercial.

Not just limited to synthetic performances, AI is also being harnessed to create digital twins of celebrities. A pertinent example is Singaporean actress Jamie Yeo's collaboration with fintech firm Hugosave. The actress granted the company the right to use an AI-generated digital twin of herself, enabling Hugosave to create promotional content using her likeness without the need for her physical presence at shoots or voice-over sessions.

Despite the conveniences offered by AI, many Hollywood personalities are expressing concerns. Actress Scarlett Johansson and actor Keanu Reeves, for instance, have voiced their worries about potential misuse of AI and deepfakes, stressing the importance of human experience in storytelling and the need for control over one's image. These concerns underline the ethical dilemmas introduced by AI into the industry.

AI spurs Hollywood strikes

The increasing use of AI and deepfakes in Hollywood has led to the industry's first major actors strike in decades. Both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have expressed concerns about AI's ability to mimic writing styles and replicate performances. These organizations are calling for transparency, accountability, and compensation for the use of creative individuals' intellectual property.

The future of AI in Hollywood

As the Hollywood narrative continues to unfold, it's clear that striking a balance between leveraging AI's potential and preserving the essence of human creativity will be crucial. While the possibilities offered by AI seem limitless, its misuse could undermine the industry's creative ethos. As a result, industry professionals are fighting to ensure that they remain the protagonists in this evolving storyline.

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