Taylor Swift won’t be shaking off the recent deepfakes of her committing sexual acts that flooded the internet last week — nor should she, as these are clear violations of her likeness, persona and basic human rights. As such, it’s said that Swift may be looking into legal action of the AI-generated images that hit social media.
As per a source close to Taylor Swift, “Whether or not legal action will be taken is being decided but there is one thing that is clear: these fake AI generated images are abusive, offensive, exploitative, and done without Taylor’s consent and/or knowledge.” There was also an uproar that the images even made it to social media in the first place, particularly Elon Musk’s X. And while the images have been removed from the platform (even a search for “Taylor Swift” yields “Posts aren’t loading right now.”), we all know that once something makes its way to the internet, it’s out there forever. The same source also made the point that, “The door needs to be shut on this. Legislation needs to be passed to prevent this and laws must be enacted.”
Certainly Taylor Swift taking legal action would set a major standard within the world of entertainment and artificial intelligence. But until then, there’s another celebrity that has been the target of misuse of AI. In the case of George Carlin, however, it has to do with the podcast Dudesy using the voice and mannerisms of the late comedian to present a new stand-up comedy special.
But the Carlin estate isn’t taking this one sitting down, filing a lawsuit late last week that could show that works of AI that are developed without consent are unethical and possibly illegal. Also, it’s bad for ya! “Defendants’ AI-generated ‘George Carlin Special’ is not a creative work. It is a piece of computer-generated clickbait which detracts from the value of Carlin’s comedic works and harms his reputation. It is a casual theft of a great American artist’s work…In short, Defendants sought to capitalize on the name, reputation, and likeness of George Carlin in creating, promoting, and distributing the Dudesy Special and using generated images of Carlin, Carlin’s voice, and images designed to evoke Carlin’s presence on a stage.”
As with the case of Taylor Swift’s deepfake pictures, the George Carlin special may be removed from the original source but it’s still readily available online — the damage has been done and the reputations have been hacked. But that doesn’t mean celebrities and artists should let companies continue to cash in on their name, especially when defacing it.
The use of artificial intelligence was a major talking point during the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes last year. Those may have been resolved but the fight is far from over. And now that even the White House has even chimed in on the Taylor Swift front, it could be just about time for laws to be put in place at the federal level.
What do you expect to come of the use of deepfakes and AI? Can Taylor Swift and the George Carlin estate help pave the way for proper action? Give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.