Congress Sides with Hollywood, Bans Artificial Intelligence

in Entertainment

Artificial intelligence robot Sonny from I, Robot

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The United States Congress is backing Hollywood: down with artificial intelligence.

iatse unveils set of core principles against ai, artificial intelligence
Credit: Canva

It has been increasingly clear that the use of generative AI has been a huge concern for the writers and creative types of Hollywood, who are understandably nervous that artificial intelligence will be used by major studios to replace them.

The just-concluded Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the ongoing Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike have made a major issue of artificial intelligence, but things bumped up to a whole new level recently when beloved actor and two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks got directly involved.

Tom Hanks
Credit: ABC

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The Toy Story actor revealed that his likeness had been deepfaked for a fraudulent dental service commercial, saying, “BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.”

The fact that one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world can have his likeness imitated by artificial intelligence tools for unsanctioned advertisements seemed to have touched a nerve, because a new bipartisan bill in Congress is cracking down.

The bill is called the Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe (NO FAKES) Act, and was introduced by Senators Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn, Thom Tillis, and Amy Klobuchar. If passed, NO FAKES will hold people and companies who produce and/or host digital replicas without authorization, such as the Tom Hanks video.

Woody (Tom Hanks) in 'Toy Story'
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios/Disney Pixar Animation Studios

There will be exclusions, including for “documentary, docudrama, or historical or biographical” and “criticism,  scholarship, satire, or parody” works, but this is still a major step forward toward protecting the digital likenesses of individuals against rapidly developing artificial intelligence.

Senators Coons said via a statement, “Creators around the nation are calling on Congress to lay out clear policies regulating the use and impact of generative AI and Congress must strike the right balance to defend individual rights, abide by the First Amendment, and foster AI innovation and creativity.”

Related: ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Was Replaced by Artificial Intelligence

Senator Blackburn also released a statement, saying NO FAKES is a “good first step in protecting our creative community, preventing AI models from stealing someone’s [name, image and likeness], and ensuring that those rights are given primary consideration under the law.”

Writers picketing in front of Walt Disney Company studio Writers Strike, WGA Strike
Credit: ufcw770 via Wikimedia Commons

In recent years, working actors and writers have experienced studios allegedly attempting to pressure performers into signing away their likeness rights in perpetuity, as well as deepfake music being created to imitate singers like the Weeknd.

At the moment, the emerging technology is barely regulated, but at least in the United States, it appears that misusing the likeness of Woody the Cowboy will get Congress acting fast.

Should AI content be regulated by Congress? Is there such a thing as AI fair use? Give us opinions in the comments below!

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