Game voice actors surprised by 'trash' AI union deal.

  • Written by Tom Gerken
  • Technology reporter

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Sag-Aftra's Duncan Crabtree-Ireland has signed the deal two months after joining the picket line in 2023

Prominent voice actors say they were not told about a landmark deal determining how voices generated by artificial intelligence (AI) will be used in games.

The actors' union Sag-Aftra and the artificial intelligence company Replica Studios were shocked.

The union says it guarantees “full informed consent and fair compensation” to its members.

But many voiceover artists, who have long been concerned that AI will replace them, reacted angrily with one calling the deal “rubbish.”

Several voice actors have suggested that this new deal goes against the purpose of this industry work, with Fallout and Mortal Kombat voice actor Sunil Malhotra saying that he “sacrificed the strike for half the last year to keep my career alive, not shop around for a special AI version.” with me”. “.

“Recent developments in AI technology have underscored the importance of protecting the rights of voice talent, especially as game studios explore more efficient ways to create their games,” said the union's chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree from Ireland.

“With this agreement, we receive full informed consent and fair compensation when it comes to the use of our members’ voices and performance.”

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According to Sag-Aftra, the agreement sets out the terms and conditions for AI-generated sounds in video games, which can be licensed by Replica Studios in games and other forms of media.

It requires the AI ​​company to get consent from actors before it can use voices based on their likeness, and it also gives voice actors the ability to permanently decline the use of their voices without their consent.

But she was met with consternation from the performers themselves, with World of Warcraft voice actor Andrew Russell calling her “trash,” while Shelby Young, who will voice Yoko in the upcoming Persona 3: Reload movie, said she was “really “disappointed” in the Federation. .

Voice actors outside of gaming have also criticized the agreement, with Joshua Seth, best known for voicing Tai in the Digimon animated series, calling it “big mistake“, while audiobook narrator Paige Reisenfeld said she was “ashamed” that her union payments went toward that.

Veronica Taylor, who provided the voice of Ash in Pokémon, wondered how the deal could be made without putting it to a vote.

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But Sag-Aftra chief Fran Driesch said the deal was “a great example of AI done right.”

Meanwhile, Replica Studios CEO Shreya Nivas said the deal was an “ethical approach” to AI.

“We're excited about the new opportunities this opens up for the world's leading AAA studios who can now access the benefits of Replica's AI-powered audio technology knowing that talent is being recognized and fairly compensated for the use of their likeness,” he said.

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