Actor Ned Luke speaks out about an AI program copying his vocal performance as Michael De Santa in the highly successful Grand Theft Auto 5.


Ned Luke, the actor behind Grand Theft Auto 5's Michael De Santa, spoke out against an AI program replicating his voice without his consent, highlighting the controversy surrounding AI replacing human artists.

Other video game voice actors, including big-name stars like Jennifer Hale and David Hayter, have expressed that AI is an inadequate substitute for the genuine emotions and spirit of a human performance.

The recent deal between SAG-AFTRA and Replica Studios, which could potentially allow AI approximations of major Hollywood actors in games, has intensified the backlash against AI in the gaming industry.

Ned Luke, the actor behind Grand Theft Auto 5’s bank robber-turned-criminal mentor Michael De Santa, recently spoke out against an AI program copying his voice without his knowledge or approval. AI-generated content has grown more prevalent in recent years, with computer programs capable of making images and even replicating famous voices with increasingly uncanny accuracy. This in turn has ignited plenty of controversy over the prospect of AI replacing human artists, with gaming companies like Wizards of Coast coming under fire for using it in official projects.

Plenty of video game voice actors have also weighed in on the ongoing debate over AI programs like ChatGPT being used to replicate their voices. Big-name stars like Jennifer Hale and David Hayter have stated that AI is a poor substitute for the real spirit and emotions of an actual human performance, a sentiment shared by the likes of Batman: Arkham Harley Quinn actor Tara Strong among many others. A recent deal between SAG-AFTRA and the artificial intelligence voice technology company Replica Studios raised the backlash against AI even further by potentially allowing it to use AI approximations of major Hollywood actors in games.

Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto 5 Micheal actor Ned Luke recently spoke out against an AI company called WAME for copying his voice without his knowledge or consent in a Twitter post, as reported by PCGames. In this post, Luke said that there's “nothing cool about ripping people off” with a replication of his voice, and advised his fans not to “waste their time” on such a thing. Luke’s message was made in response to a post from WAME showcasing its Michael chatbot, which also mistakenly referred to him as “the protagonist of GTA 4.”

Shortly after Ned Luke’s response and PCGames’ article covering it, WAME reached out to the former with a new statement assuring everyone involved that the Grand Theft Auto 5 Micheal AI chatbox at the heart of this ordeal has been removed following Luke’s remarks. “WAME commits to protecting the rights of voice actors and creators while advancing ethical AI practices,” the company stated. “We believe this controversy serves as a pivotal moment in harmonizing AI technology with relevant legal statutes.” WAME went on to describe how the incident has “highlighted the intricate interplay between the advancement of AI technology and the ethical and legal realms.”

Ned Luke’s performance as Grand Theft Auto 5’s Michael has been replicated using AI before in novelty videos, but this latest instance comes at a time when video game voice actors are genuinely concerned about the technology replacing them in official projects. As said technology grows more sophisticated, this issue and the surrounding controversy will only become more prominent, especially in light of the recent SAG-AFTRA deal.

One of the most popular open-world titles of the 2010s, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto 5 is an ambitious crime game featuring three protagonists. It is an action-adventure title played in both third and first-person perspectives. As the seventh main entry into the Grand Theft Auto series, it is the most popular of the titles, and one of the most popular games of all time.The single-player campaign is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, where the protagonists, including a retired bank robber, a gangster, and a drug dealer, attempt heists.

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