Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Actors vs. Show Stealers

This is one of those stories that isn't about education--at least not yet.

In the UK, Equity, the actors trade union, is launching a campaign to "stop AI stealing the show." 

They note a whole host of techy-created problems:

Performers are having their image, voice or likeness reproduced without their consent. Or pay.

Contractors are keeping performers in the dark about what, exactly, their rights are in an AI contract. 

There's a whole world of issues beyond the now ever-present use of deepfake and AI technology to create performances by dead actors in big time movies. 

Equity presents some stories like this one:

In the last six months, my voice has been used in huge marketing campaigns by global companies. I don't receive a penny, even though I believe my contract does not allow for third party advertising.

In 2018, I was hired to do a text-for-speech job for a translation app. But in 2020 these recordings were used for the first ever English test-to-speech voice on TikTok, who was not my client.

I used to joke with my students that after I died, I would have my body stuffed and mounted with animatronics and be installed on a track in a classroom while recordings of my lessons played. That's no longer a joke--it's an absolutely digitally achievable possibility. The equity complaints remind us that while we're used to seeing dead performers revived on film, techs could do the same thing for the living.

Stories like this remind me of all the times that administrators ask teachers to produce curriculum and lesson plans that are exacting enough that anybody--or anything--could implement them. Can a computer reproduce your classroom performance? And if somebody decided to try to do it, would you have any protections against it? 

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