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The New AI Frontier: Voice Cloning and Deep Fakes


Black and white drawing of women with long hair wearing big headphones and with brown shadowing

Do you have rights to your voice?


Scarlett Johansson has recently taken action against an AI app developer for cloning her voice in an online ad, raising critical questions about the intersection of technology and personal rights.


In a world where artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly accessible and capable, we will continue to see more cases like this in the future. Johansson's case is just one example of a broader issue that has far-reaching implications for both the entertainment industry and individual privacy.


Voice cloning technology, like that used in the ad for the AI image editor Lisa AI, can convincingly replicate a person's voice, often indistinguishable from the real thing. Musicians, actors, and public figures are already dealing with voice-cloning that can lead to unauthorized voiceovers and endorsements, making it seem like they are promoting products or ideas they have no connection to.


However, this issue is not limited to the entertainment industry. Voicing cloning and deepfake technology is also being used to create AI-generated voices and likenesses of individuals in various contexts without their consent.


In Scarlett Johansson's case, the ad featured her behind the scenes while filming "Black Widow," and she was depicted saying, "What's up, guys? It's Scarlett, and I want you to come with me." However, the ad quickly transitioned to an AI-generated voice meant to sound like the actress, promoting the AI image editor. The developers included a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad, stating that the images had nothing to do with Scarlett Johansson.


However, while the disclaimer may seem like an attempt to distance the technology from the actress, it raises questions about the ethics and potential legal consequences of such practices. In this case, Scarlett Johansson was not a spokesperson for the app, and she has a right to protect her name and likeness from being exploited in ways she did not consent to. This situation underscores the need for clearer regulations and guidelines regarding AI-generated content, voice cloning, and deepfake technology.


As technology advances, it is crucial for society to strike a balance between technological innovation and protecting individual rights. Clearer legal frameworks and industry standards are necessary to address the unauthorized use of individuals' voices, likenesses, and identities in AI-generated content. Individuals should have control over how their identities are portrayed and used in the digital landscape.

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