LOS ANGELES — For voice actors, having a performance become a crucial part of a blockbuster video game could be a dream come true.

But, as artificial intelligence technology becomes more advanced, software can replicate or create entirely new vocal performances.

Will the game studios continue to pay voice actors for their work?

Sarah Parvini covers the video game industry for the LA Times and joined Lisa McRee on “LA Times Today” with more.

Parvini explained why voice actors are worried about AI in their work.

“You’re looking at a set of performers whose product is their voice and often their likeness when it comes to motion capture and video games. So if there is a technology, as we know there is with A.I., that can not only tweak voices or perhaps make a performance a little bit better, or what people are looking for, but can also completely change a performance or replicate someone’s voice for a future game - that’s a big deal,” Parvini said.

One actor Parvini spoke with said his likeness was scanned for a game he worked on, but he didn’t know it was re-used for other characters until a friend “shot” him in a different game.

Another actor, Brock Powell, said they learned of their voice being re-used from friends who heard them in a game. 

Parvini discussed how studios can use a database of voices from various actors to remix performances for use in other games.  


“You can not only in theory, replicate, let’s say, my voice as a voice actor. But you could say, ‘Oh, I like Sarah’s voice for this, but I also like Jennifer’s voice for this a little bit. What if we put them together and create an entirely new artist?’ These are things that in theory could happen and that voice actors are very concerned,” she said. 

Voice actors are part of SAG-AFTRA, but their contract is not involved in the strike. However, they are in closed negotiations with studios over their labor terms.

Parvini described what the actors are asking for.

“As it relates to AI, the issue of consent [is being discussed]. Be clear that you can use someone’s voice in the future or get their consent. Don’t bury it in a contract where they find out after the fact and then compensate them fairly if that is going to happen,” she said. “No one is naive enough to believe that you can stop technology, right? But what they do want is to be included in the discussion and to have a seat at the table when things like this to happen.”

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