Ned Luke, the voice actor behind Michael De Santa in Grand Theft Auto 5, has called out a company for using his voice as the basis of an unofficial AI chatbot.
The actor reshared a post from AI company WAME, which offered GTA fans the chance to have a “realistic voice conversation” with Michael. “This is fucking bullshit,” Luke wrote in response, tagging WAME.
“Absolutely nothing cool about ripping people off with some lame computer estimation of my voice. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS GARBAGE…”
The actor then riffed off GTA’s own star-based warning system, before tagging developer Rockstar, fellow VA Roger Clark and actors’ union SAG-AFTRA.
The initial post and any others pertaining to this GTA-based AI chatbot from WAME have now been removed from the company’s social media feed. However, the exchange was captured by PCGamesN, as you can see below.
In a statement shared with Eurogamer, WAME addressed its use of Luke’s voice. “In light of the recent controversy surrounding the utilisation of Mr. Ned Luke’s voice in our application, we at WAME wish to express our profound understanding and concern,” it wrote. “This incident has highlighted the intricate interplay between the advancement of AI technology and the ethical and legal realms.”
WAME stated while its AI voice was based on Luke’s voice, it was “independently synthesised and fine-tuned, resulting in a unique creation entirely by AI”. It was not made for “commercial exploitation”, WAME claimed.
“We staunchly advocate for creative freedom and agree that the rights of those who inspire creative works must be equally respected. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Luke for any distress caused and take this as a crucial learning opportunity to strive for a balance between creators’ rights and ethical AI usage.”
WAME has now removed the chatbot, calling this incident a “pivotal moment in harmonising AI technology with relevant legal statutes.”
Eurogamer has asked Rockstar for further comment.
AI is a hot topic in the gaming industry right now, with several company’s flirting with the technology. This includes Square Enix, with its CEO Takashi Kiryu saying it will be “aggressive in applying AI” in his annual new year letter.
Multiple members of the gaming industry remain sceptical about AI, however. Voice actors such as Troy Baker, Jane Perry, David Hayter, Jennifer Hale and Paul Eiding have all expressed their concerns about the technology.
More recently, a number of actors have voiced concerns after SAG-AFTRA introduced a “groundbreaking” AI voice agreement to allow artists to “safely explore” opportunities for their digital voice replicas.