Deepfakes are a growing threat to acting careers. It’s the other challenge posed by generative AI technologies. In early May, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) began a strike in Hollywood opposing both low wages and the intrusion of generative AI like ChatGPT, which critics purport will be used to replace human writers.
The strike illustrates the current threat to the Hollywood writing industry, but the looming deepfake apocalypse calls the role of the actual actors into question, too. Tom Hanks jokingly noted that long after he’s gone, AI-generated versions of him will star in films far into the future. Maybe his remarks weren’t so comical after all. While deepfakes, upon close inspection, can be identified, they appear to be getting better all the time.
Will Bedingfield writes at Wired,
Short term, most AI-generated actors may come off like Fake Ryan Reynolds: ghoulishly unlikeable. It seems more likely that people will accept audiobooks made by AI or a digitally rendered Darth Vader voice than a movie resting on the ripped shoulders of an AI-sculpted GigaChad-esque action hero.
Long term, though, if AI replicants escape the uncanny valley, audiences of the future may not care whether the actor in front of them is human. “It’s complicated,” says Matthew Sag, a professor of law and artificial intelligence at Emory University. “The job of writing can be encroached on in a marginal or progressive way. Performers are likely to be replaced in an all-or-nothing way.”-Will Bedingfield, Why Hollywood Really Fears Generative AI | WIRED
We’re reaching the point where if it has all the right appearances, then who cares about whether it’s a real person or not? Will all “live action” movies someday just be contrived AI animations? And as Bedingfield notes, will anyone even care anymore?