While some big-name actors and celebrities are battling against the use of artificial intelligence tools by studios, others are taking a different approach. They’re embracing AI technology to stay one step ahead of those who want to exploit their likenesses. One company, called Metaphysic AI, claims that stars like Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Tom Hanks, and Paris Hilton are already using their Metaphysic Pro tool to protect their digital lives from compensation and impersonation issues.
So how does it work? Well, users can either upload images from their smartphones or opt for a full face and body scan in a studio. The scans that capture the unique characteristics of these individuals are then stored in Metaphysic’s database. This allows users to retain control over the traits necessary to train an AI model based on their likeness and voice.
The infamous Creative Artists Agency, which represents the likes of Hathaway, Spencer, and Hanks, declined to comment, and other representatives for these actors have yet to respond. Even Paris Hilton’s representative opted to keep mum on the subject. However, it’s worth noting that Metaphysic AI did partner with CAA earlier this year to develop generative AI tools and services, such as photorealistic digital avatars, for their talent roster.
The co-founder and CEO of Metaphysic AI, Tom Graham, emphasized the importance of owning the dataset that creates a performer’s replica. By doing so, they can combat illegal deepfakes that create false impressions using AI-generated copycat videos and imagery. It also ensures that actors are properly compensated for the use of their image and voice. Graham makes a strong point, stating that everyone should have ownership over their own data when it comes to their face and voice.
Metaphysic AI made headlines with their deepfake avatar of Elvis Presley, which took the stage for a “live performance” on “America’s Got Talent” last year. They also gained attention with their unofficial version of actor Tom Cruise, fittingly dubbed “Deep Tom Cruise,” which went viral across social media. The increasing use of AI deepfake technology has raised concerns about copyright and infringement, as it has been utilized to create replicas of various artists and music groups.
Graham acknowledges that individuals don’t have complete control over how their voice or face is used, stating that there’s no property in that aspect. Unauthorized deepfakes can be created and shared without infringing on an individual’s intellectual property rights, making it difficult to get them taken down. However, Graham wants to make it clear that Metaphysic AI acts as a custodian of user data, not as the owner. Their platform, Metaphysic Pro, aims to store the essential data needed to train AI models, with users retaining ownership over that data.
The negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have highlighted the significance of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry. The creation of digital avatars using AI has been a point of contention in these discussions. Graham believes that people should have concerns about the implications of generative AI and the potential for others to manipulate and control their identities.
In response to these concerns, Assemblymember Ash Kalra introduced legislation in California to allow actors to nullify contracts that include vague stipulations regarding AI usage. However, experts like Graham emphasize the need for proactive measures to ensure ethical AI practices, even as policymakers attempt to regulate AI in contracts. It’s about fighting and being actively involved in the process to combat illegal deepfakes effectively. In Graham’s words, it can’t be a passive endeavor.