SAG-AFTRA Signs AI Voiceover Deal For Video Games

SAG-AFTRA Signs AI Voiceover Deal For Video Games

The Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, also known as SAG-AFTRA, has just introduced a blindsiding AI voice agreement with Replica Studios, an AI voiceover company. This announcement, which left voice actors confused and enraged, came just this past Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, stating that voiceovers would take place in video games.

According to Variety, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the national executive director for SAG-AFTRA, shared that the union wants to embrace the new future and opportunities that come with AI.

“These are the kind of terms that producers can agree to without disrupting their ability to make content,” Crabtree-Ireland started. “This is an evolutionary step forward. AI technology is not something we can block. It’s not something we can stop. That’s not a tactic or a strategy that’s ever worked for labor in the past.”

Allegedly, the decision was approved by those affected by SAG-AFTRA’s voiceover performer community, but there was a mix of emotions on social media when the news came about.

While speaking to NBC on the announcement, Crabtree-Ireland shared, “I think what’s really important about this agreement is the fact that it provides protection for all performers at all levels in the industry,” he said. “And the fact is a lot of times performers who may not be famous names really need that protection even more because their bargaining leverage to negotiate those kinds of things individually isn’t as great.”

Replica Studios, whose aim is to build “the world’s greatest library of AI-powered voice actors,” established their AI platform in 2019. CEO of Replica, Shreya Nivas, shared that the company is excited to open new opportunities for video game studios offering their AI voice technology without violating ethical boundaries. 

“Our voice actor agreements ensure that game developers using our platform are only accessing licensed talent who have given permission for their voice to be used as a training data set,” Nivas shared, “as opposed to the wild west of AI platforms using unethical data-scraping methods to replicate and synthesize voices without permission.”

This announcement comes just as SAG-AFTRA celebrated the end of a 118-day actors’ strike after coming to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) back in November.

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Emani Bell

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