Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams, opposes the use of artificial intelligence to recreate her father’s voice. She expressed her concerns on Instagram, stating that she has already heard AI being used to manipulate her father’s voice without his consent. These comments come in the midst of the Writer Guild of America’s strike, which includes issues related to AI. Zelda believes that living actors should have the opportunity to create characters and put their human effort into their performances. She sees AI recreations as inferior substitutes and a misrepresentation of the industry. Robin Williams passed away in 2014, having battled anxiety, severe depression, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy body dementia. Despite her opposition to AI, Robin’s voice will be featured in a new Disney short called “Once Upon a Studio,” where previously unheard dialogue recorded by Williams will be used with the consent of his estate. The short celebrates Disney’s 100th anniversary and premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
Recently, the late comedian and actor Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda expressed her disapproval of the idea of using artificial intelligence (AI) to re-create her father’s voice. With the advancement of AI technology, especially within the entertainment industry, the possibility of vocal software being used to fill in for Robin William’s signature improvisations and one-liners is now a reality.
Zelda Williams, who is an accomplished actress, addressed her concerns in an open letter on Instagram. She expressed support for how the technology can be used in various other ways but still believes there should be a clear boundary over when and where AI should be used. Her comments come following a report by the Hollywood Reporter that revealed a series of companies that have intentions to create software capable of re-creating her father’s likeness and voice.
The technology operates by extracting phonemes, non-verbal sounds and other audio nuances and combining them into speech. Though it hasn’t yet been tested, this technology would allow users to copy any human voice for a fraction of the price and time it would take to actually record a performance.
The fact that this technology could be used to revive not only her father’s voice, but any human voice, left Zelda feeling uneasy. She said, “Lines are being crossed and I think we all need to stand up and say something before it’s too late.” According to her, resurrecting a beloved celebrity’s voice, no matter how much technology can sustain and mimic it, will never be the same as the real thing.
Zelda’s message is directed towards the future of AI technology and how it can be used throughout the entertainment industry. Though she showed support for those who intend to use AI for its various other applications, she firmly believes that it should not be used to disrespect Robin Williams’ legacy. Much like her father, Zelda is a progressive thinker, offering a powerful message that brings attention to a topic that is becoming increasingly important.