Robin Williams' daughter reignites the ethical debate surrounding the use of AI to recreate actors, including her late father. * Yet beneath the surface of this unsettling technology lies the potential for a new ethical framework, and perhaps even a new era in storytelling.
The ethical minefield that is the use of AI in the entertainment industry has been the subject of renewed debate, thanks in no small part to Zelda Williams. As the daughter of the late Robin Williams, she brings a deeply personal perspective to the controversy. Williams criticizes AI for mimicking her late father's voice without consent and describes the technology as a "horrendous Frankensteinian monster". This issue is now more pertinent than ever amid the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, where actors and screenwriters are advocating for better pay and protesting the use of AI in the industry. But could there be an ethical and meaningful way to incorporate AI into the realm of storytelling?
The SAG-AFTRA strike has halted multiple films and shows and even led to Hollywood stars walking out of premieres. Among the many grievances is the unconsented use of AI technology to recreate the voices and likenesses of actors, an issue Zelda Williams is intimately familiar with. She warns that these recreations can dilute the human effort that goes into creating characters and storytelling.
Zelda Williams is not alone in her criticism. Tom Hanks has also recently warned against an unauthorized AI version of himself used to promote a new dental plan. Their concerns highlight the deeper ethical issues at play: the potential for AI to be used without consent, possibly forever altering the human involvement in creative processes. The Writers Guild of America and major studios have reached an agreement after 146 days of striking, but the issue of AI remains unresolved. Striking actors continue to demand safeguards against AI, emphasizing the importance of human effort and time in the pursuit of performance.
From a Jewish standpoint, the moral compass guiding any technological advancement should ideally align with the teachings about Moshiach, geula, and redemption for the entire world. If technology like AI is harnessed with the ethics of justice, fairness, and mutual respect, it could potentially serve a greater good.
While the ethical dilemmas surrounding AI in Hollywood are complex and deeply personal, especially for individuals like Zelda Williams, the time is ripe for formulating an ethical framework. With adequate safeguards, perhaps this tool can be used to enrich storytelling and immortalize characters, not as mere facsimiles, but as lasting tributes to the legends they were. As we navigate these tumultuous waters, let us remember the potential for AI to serve the greater good, as an instrument in the approaching era of Moshiach.