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Stephen Fry reveals his voice was stolen and replicated by AI for documentary

Cbs Network 2016 Upfront
Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry has claimed his voice was stolen from the Harry Potter audiobooks by AI software and replicated for a documentary without his consent.

Speaking at the CogX Festival last week, the actor and comedian told the audience he was “shocked” to make the discovery.

“I’m a proud member of (actors’ union SAG-AFTRA). As you know, we’ve been on strike for three months now. And one of the burning issues is AI,” the 66-year-old explained, before playing a clip of what appeared to be his voice narrating a historical documentary.

“I said not one word of that – it was a machine. Yes, it shocked me,” Fry exclaimed. “They used my reading of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, and from that dataset an AI of my voice was created, and it made that new narration.”

The former QI host explained to the audience that “it won’t be long until full deepfake videos are just as convincing” and the rapidly advancing technology could pretend to have him “read anything from a call to storm Parliament to hard porn”.

“What you just heard, was done without my knowledge,” Fry added. “So I heard about this, I sent it to my agents on both sides of the Atlantic, and they went ballistic – they had no idea such a thing was possible.”

AI has become one of the focal points of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Back in July, Bryan Cranston delivered a heated address to Disney CEO Bob Iger, stating that actors would not let studios take their jobs away with AI replication.

– Cover Media