Acting in the era of deepfakes and AI

Abstract by Dominic Lees

Screen performances can be easily manipulated using Generative AI: an actor’s face might be replaced by deepfakes, or their speech altered through voice cloning. Last year’s strike by actors in the US highlighted the fears that many actors feel towards new AI technology.

My research has looked at the creative opportunities of deepfake technology as well as the anxieties it provokes, through my experimental project that attempted to resurrect former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in a film drama. This talk will reveal the actual capabilities of Generative AI, and explore the moral and philosophical questions that arise for directors and actors when collaborating with this technology. Does the use of AI undermine the creative bond between actor and director? How can actors maintain their trust and confidence in the film medium when they have decreasing control of their screen performance?

The use of film to record a performance has always guaranteed to an audience that what they see is the authentic work of the actor that occurred in time and space infront of a camera. But the growing use of partly- or fully-synthetic performances disrupts this important assumption.  Will audiences tolerate screen performances that have been faked by the use of AI?

>> Deutsche Version