How Cyberpunk 2077 Brought Back a Dead Voice Actor Using AI

Cyberpunk 2077, the popular sci-fi video game by CD Projekt SA, has used artificial intelligence to resurrect the voice of a deceased voice actor in its latest expansion, Phantom Liberty. The voice actor, Miłogost Reczek, who died in 2021, played the role of Viktor Vektor, a doctor who helps the protagonist in the game. The company said it consulted with Reczek’s family and received their permission to use AI to recreate his voice.

The Process of Voice Cloning

To clone Reczek’s voice, CD Projekt hired a different voice actor to perform new lines for the role and then used a Ukraine-based voice-cloning software called Respeecher to create an algorithm that would alter the dialogue to sound like Reczek. Respeecher is a software that uses deep learning to create realistic voice conversions and synthesis. It can mimic the voice, tone, and style of any speaker.

How Cyberpunk 2077 Brought Back a Dead Voice Actor Using AI
How Cyberpunk 2077 Brought Back a Dead Voice Actor Using AI

CD Projekt localization director Mikołaj Szwed said that they decided to use AI to clone Reczek’s voice because he was “one of the best Polish voice talents” and his performance in the game as Viktor Vektor was “stellar”. He also said that Reczek’s sons were “very supportive” of the idea.

The Ethical and Legal Implications of AI Voice Cloning

The use of AI to clone the voice of a dead person raises ethical and legal questions about the rights and consent of the original speaker and their family. It also poses a threat to the livelihood and autonomy of voice actors, who may lose control over how their voice is used or manipulated by technology.

Last month, video game voice actors authorized a strike ahead of negotiations with gaming companies over various topics, including the use of AI to recreate their work without permission. Ray Rodriguez, a union leader, said that “the unregulated use of artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to anyone who makes their living using their voice, image or performance”.

The use of AI to replace dead actors is not new in the entertainment industry. Film franchises like Star Wars have used technology to bring back dead actors such as Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing. However, the use of AI to clone the voice of a living person without their consent or knowledge is more controversial and potentially illegal.

The Future of AI Voice Cloning

AI voice cloning is a technology that has many potential applications and benefits, such as creating personalized assistants, enhancing accessibility, preserving cultural heritage, and improving communication. However, it also has many risks and challenges, such as ensuring quality, security, privacy, and ethics.

As AI voice cloning becomes more accessible and affordable, it may also become more widespread and misused. It may be used for fraud, deception, impersonation, or harassment. It may also create confusion and distrust among people who may not be able to tell if they are talking to a real person or an AI clone.

Therefore, it is important to have clear guidelines and regulations for the use of AI voice cloning, especially in creative work such as video games and movies. It is also important to have transparency and accountability for the creators and users of AI voice cloning, as well as respect and recognition for the original speakers and their families.

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