Modern society is so busted that idiots with more money than intelligence are backing AI technology that will replace artists faster than stupider jobs that would make more sense to replace (like… meteorite miner or toxic gas collector?), which is why AI has been such a sticking point in the Hollywood strikes this summer. The WGA managed to secure protections in its big contract (assume it gets ratified by the union’s membership, which should happen later this month), and the still-striking SAG-AFTRA members are looking for something similar in their own fight with the major Hollywood studios—to say nothing of the worthless scammers using AI shit to try and make a quick buck, like whoever made the “Tom Hanks sells you dental insurance” ad that he complained about this weekend.
Now, Zelda Williams has offered a new perspective on the threat of AI, specifically that of someone who doesn’t want to see soulless AI replicas of people “who cannot consent,” like her father, Robin Williams. In a post on her Instagram Story, Zelda Williams said that she has already seen AI used to make “his ‘voice’” say “whatever people want,” and while she finds that “personally disturbing,” she says she’s not the only one who should be worried about what this tech could be used for. She says actors deserve to be able to “create characters” with their own choices and to “put their HUMAN effort and time into the pursuit of performance.” She adds that these recreations are, “at their very best, a poor facsimile of greater people” and, “at their worst, a horrendous Frankensteinian monster, cobbled together from the worst bits of everything this industry is, instead of what it should stand for.”
During his life, Robin Williams was famously protective of his voice and likeness, publicly feuding with Disney back in the ‘90s after the company allegedly went back on a deal they had not to use any aspect of his Genie performance in Aladdin to “sell stuff.” There are also potentially apocryphal stories going around that he legally barred Disney from using the many, many hours of Genie dialogue he recorded to create new Aladdin films (basically preemptively preventing the kind of thing Lucasfilm did to Carrie Fisher after her death).
So, in the span of two days, both Zelda Williams and Tom Hanks have pointed out that AI tech is bad and is being used for evil. Meanwhile, on the pro-AI side, we have… people who bought blue checkmarks on Twitter? Hmm, who to side with… which one seems better… hmm….