With CES 2024 underway many companies have already shown what’s next for them during the 2024 year, and SAG-AFTRA and Replica Studios have announced an AI voice agreement at the event.
The new agreement revealed at CES 2024 allows “professional voice over artists to safely explore new employment opportunities for their digital voice replicas with industry-leading protections tailored to AI technology, allowing AAA video game studios and other companies working with Replica to access top SAG-AFTRA talent” as announced in the joint statement from SAG-AFTRA and Replica Studios at CES 2024. Notably, SAG-AFTRA has penned an agreement to end the strikes that impeded Hollywood last year, which requires studios to obtain express permission before using someone’s ‘AI-generated likeness’.
What’s interesting is the previous deal signed by SAG-AFTRA to end the Hollywood strikes has the consensual language of an actor needing to give permission (and receive compensation) for studios using their likeness, but the deal doesn’t remove the ability for studios to generate AI actors not based off of real performers. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said “the best protection against the unauthorized digital simulation of their voice, likeness and/or performance is a SAG-AFTRA contract” regarding the new deal.
SAG-AFTRA Director, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said “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” regarding the inevitability of the deal at CES 2024. It’s worth mentioning that the new union deal SAG-AFTRA signed covers ‘digital replicas’ of actors, and does not apply to the usage of AI systems to train AI actors.
Replica Studios touts itself as a studio that deals with “ethical AI voice actors,” and launched their platform way back in 2019. CEO of Replica Studios, Shreyas Nivas claimed the company has been developing standardized contract language for AI voice licenses, and said “We are excited by the new opportunities this opens up for world-leading AAA studios who can now access the benefits of Replica’s AI voice technology while knowing that talent is recognized and compensated fairly for the use of their likeness” regarding the new deal.
The CES 2024 show is running until January 12, and fans can head over to the official SAG-AFTRA website for more info regarding the new AI voice deal between SAG-AFTRA and Replica Studios.