SAG-AFTRA director compares AI voice acting to the little mermaid villain

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Duncan Crabtree-Ireland has spoken about the dangers of AI when it comes to voice acting, comparing the situation to the Little Mermaid’s villain, Ursula.

What did the director of SAG-AFTRA say about AI voice acting?

At San Diego Comic-Con, Crabtree-Ireland joined numerous voice actors on a panel discussion and explained to the audience how AI enables anyone to make a voice actor’s characters – and by extension their voices – say anything, regardless of their own feelings or approval.

“We have to reject the idea that this is just going to happen to us and we can’t say anything about it,” Crabtree-Ireland explained of AI’s dominance in the industry (via diversity). “I think that could definitely happen. The question is whether we will allow that.”

The director then likened the situation to “a story about a little mermaid and a sea witch who literally steals that mermaid’s voice… I remember seeing this for the first time and thinking how awful it is that this sea witch steals that person’s voice and then uses it for whatever.” That’s exactly what we’re talking about.”

The SAG-AFTRA strike that began nearly two weeks ago is in part a response to the impact AI will have on the entertainment industry. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher explained: “The entire business model has been changed by streaming and AI. If we don’t stand firm now, we’ll all be in danger.’ You can’t change the business model as much as it has been changed and expect the contract to change as well.”