Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a major topic of discussion, especially in Hollywood. Renowned author and actor, Stephen Fry, recently shared a distressing incident at the CogX Festival in London. He played a clip from a historical documentary where an AI system mimicked his voice without his knowledge or consent. Fry expressed his shock, stating, “I said not one word of that—it was a machine.” The AI had been created using his recorded readings of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, which he narrated in the UK.
The Boundless Potential of AI
Fry highlighted the versatility of the AI-generated voice by explaining that the words were modulated to fit the meaning of each sentence. This implies that the AI could narrate anything, from a political speech to explicit adult content, utilizing his voice. Concerns for unauthorized usage and the potential for deepfake videos were raised by Fry who warned his agents, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Fry acknowledged that while the current focus is on AI-generated audio, deepfake videos that mimic real people could soon be just as convincing.
As an actor with an extensive filmography, including notable works like Gosford Park, V for Vendetta, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fry understands the need to address the potential problems posed by AI. Hollywood strikes by actors are an attempt to safeguard their profession against the unintended consequences of AI. Fry drew an analogy between AI and the invention of the automobile, emphasizing that the current state of AI is merely the beginning. He compared the rapid evolution of technology to the widespread adoption of cars, which was unimaginable when they were first created.
Fry stressed that technology is not a stagnant entity but a continuous process. He asserted, “Tech is not a noun, it is a verb, it is always moving.” The current AI models are not representative of what AI will become. Fry boldly predicted that AI will progress faster than any other technology seen before. As we witness technology’s exponential growth, actors and other professionals must work together to understand and adapt to the infinite possibilities and concerns presented by AI.
Stephen Fry’s experience with AI-generated narration of a documentary without his knowledge or permission serves as a wake-up call to the potential dangers of this technology. The incident emphasizes the urgent need to establish proper regulations and guidelines for the usage of AI in creative industries. As AI continues to evolve and reshape various aspects of our lives, it is crucial to continue questioning and evaluating its implications to ensure a responsible and ethical integration of AI into society.