Imagine having Sir David Attenborough narrate the story of your life — a desire shared by many, now transformed into reality by programmer Charlie Holtz using artificial intelligence (AI). In a captivating demo video shared on X, formerly Twitter, Attenborough’s iconic voice describes Holtz as if he were a character in a film, showcasing the potential of AI-generated narration.
In the demo, AI-Attenborough provides an unscripted and remarkably realistic narration, capturing not only the broadcaster’s distinctive voice but also his unique style of speech. Holtz, a “hacker in residence” at machine-learning startup Replicate, utilized OpenAI’s GPT-4-vision, an AI model capable of describing visual content and incorporated code from Elevens Lab, an AI voice startup.
This experiment, gaining over 1 million views, demonstrates the tangible capabilities of AI clones, dispelling notions that they are confined to the realm of science fiction. Holtz’s AI project joins a series of quirky experiments shared on X, showcasing the potential of AI in various applications, including posture correction.
Despite the viral success, the response from Hollywood actors to AI clones remains mixed. While X users express excitement over potential uses like having Attenborough narrate a baby eating broccoli, concerns within the industry persist. Justine Bateman, AI advisor to the Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee, criticized a recent agreement with studios for not adequately addressing the protection of actors against the creation of “digital doubles” and the potential replacement by “synthetic performers.”
As the code behind AI-Attenborough becomes available online, sparking further interest and creativity, the conversation around AI’s impact on the entertainment industry continues to evolve.
While the technology offers exciting possibilities, it raises ethical and professional considerations, echoing Bateman’s warning about actors competing with their “digital doubles” in an ever-changing landscape shaped by artificial intelligence.