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A hot potato: In the latest example of why so many people dislike the use of AI-generated voices, Ned Luke, the actor who portrays Michael De Santa in GTA 5, has blasted a company for using his voice without permission to create a Michael AI chatbot. Luke added that the technology has also been used to create clips that sound like he is going on racist rants, apparently in an attempt to get him "canceled."
Luke replied to a now-deleted post on X/Twitter from AI company WAME that was promoting its AI Michael chatbot, which lets users engage in "a realistic voice conversation with Michael De Santa," reports PCGamesN.
Luke confirmed that neither the actor nor Rockstar were asked for permission to use his voice to create the chatbot. "This is f**king bulls**t WAME," he said. "Absolutely nothing cool about ripping people off with some lame computer estimation of my voice. Don't waste your time on this garbage." The actor then added "Grand Theft Vocal" and referenced the game by including a five-star wanted rating.
This is fucking bullshit @wamexyz absolutely nothing cool about ripping people off with some lame computer estimation of my voice. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS GARBAGE...– Ned Luke (@ned_luke) January 14, 2024
Grand Theft Vocal âÂï¸ÂâÂï¸ÂâÂï¸ÂâÂï¸ÂâÂï¸Â@RockstarGames @rclark98 @sagaftra https://t.co/QKGxygRp7x
Luke tagged Rockstar Games and the SAG-AFTRA actors union in his post. There has been a lot of anger from those within the industry recently over SAG-AFTRA reaching an agreement on the use of AI voices that it says is "fair," though many voice actors say they weren't asked for their feedback on the deal.
WAME has now removed the Michael chatbot and all mention of the AI. "In light of the recent controversy surrounding the utilization of Mr Ned Luke's voice in our application, we at WAME wish to express our profound understanding and concern," the company told PCGamesN. "This incident has highlighted the intricate interplay between the advancement of AI technology and the ethical and legal realms."
Not using my voice they don't.– Ned Luke (@ned_luke) January 14, 2024
"WAME commits to protecting the rights of voice actors and creators while advancing ethical AI practices. We believe this controversy serves as a pivotal moment in harmonizing AI technology with relevant legal statutes."
The posts caught the attention of another voice actor who has played a part in a Rockstar Games franchise: Roger Clark, who portrayed Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2. He said that the real Micheal would never be replaced. Luke replied that his anger was directed primarily at the chatbot's creators and SAG-AFTRA.
I'm not worried about being replaced, Roger. I just hate these fuckers, and am pissed as fuck that our shitty union is so damn weak that this will soon be an issue on legit work, not just some lame douchebag tryna make $$ off of our voices.– Ned Luke (@ned_luke) January 14, 2024
Luke also claimed that an AI-generated voice based on his likeness was being used to create racist diatribes. "I have assholes using AI to create bulls*** racist rants to try get me canceled," he said. "This is dangerous f***ing sh** that needs to be addressed ASAP."
Voice actors have been speaking out against AI recreations of their voices for months. We heard in February that many were being forced to sign away the rights to their voice as part of a role, and there were reports in October of entry-level artists losing work to virtual recreations.
One of the more high-profile instances of an AI voice clone being used was done by CD Projekt Red. The company used a voice generated from Milogost Reczek, who had voiced Viktor Vektor in Cyberpunk 2077's Polish version, for Phantom Liberty, following the actor's death in 2021.
Doug Cockle, the actor who famously voices Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher game series, recently told IGN that the use of AI was "Inevitable" but "Dangerous."