**Resurrection AI: Bringing Back the Voices of the Past**
**The Potential of Resurrection AI**
Last week, Sir Paul McCartney made headlines when he discussed how Peter Jackson brought back John Lennon’s voice for the film “Get Back” by extracting it from an old cassette recording. McCartney now plans to release what he claims will be the Beatles’ last record, incorporating Lennon’s voice into the final mix. While McCartney appeared relaxed about the implications of this technology during his interview on BBC’s Radio 4, the emergence of ‘Resurrection AI’ raises intriguing possibilities.
Resurrection AI is primarily used to bring back the voices of deceased individuals, either to create new content or to support social causes. One notable example is the engineers who utilized samples of President John F. Kennedy’s voice to construct a realistic rendition of the speech he would have delivered in Dallas if he hadn’t been assassinated. Similarly, a Mexican journalist who was assassinated was resurrected using AI to urge people to help find his killers. Furthermore, the audio of Anthony Bourdain was manipulated using AI for the promotion of a documentary movie. In each of these cases, the technology was employed to make these individuals say something they never actually articulated.
**The Rise of Post-Mortem Rights**
As the use of AI for resurrection purposes becomes more prevalent, a new industry is likely to emerge surrounding post-mortem rights. This industry aims to safeguard individuals against the commercialization of their resurrected images. Sam Gregory, the executive director at the human rights organization Witness, emphasizes the importance of consent, disclosure, and determining legitimate usages in specific contexts.
**The Flip Side: Erasing Individuals with AI**
Conversely, AI can also be utilized to erase individuals from content. In cases where a band member falls out of favor due to conflicting social opinions, the band may employ AI to remove that person from past promotional materials or completely eradicate their presence from recordings. The digital nature of most promotional materials and recordings makes this process relatively easy to execute.
**Imagining an AI-Enabled Future**
AI has the potential to shape an imagined future, presenting various ethical dilemmas. For instance, an ad created by the Republican National Committee depicted a fake future where President Biden wins again. The use of someone’s image for such occasions raises significant questions concerning legitimacy. As AI continues to blend together experiences of the past, present, and future, the boundaries surrounding image and audio rights become increasingly complex.
**The Challenge of Legislation and Human Rights**
Addressing the potential infringement of human rights caused by resurrection AI poses a significant challenge in terms of legislation. While the need to protect these rights is clear, determining the appropriate legal framework is far from straightforward. In an era where synthetic media is expected to account for 90% of all content by 2026, finding the right balance between real and synthetic becomes even more critical. Understanding which aspects of this shift to prioritize is essential.
**Looking Ahead: Synthetic Media and Enjoyable Experiences**
In the future, it may become desirable for a majority of media to be synthetic. Take, for example, a new Beatles record. When all the band members have passed away, the enjoyment derived from these music releases stems from their surreal nature, making them 100% enjoyable. Legislatively and ethically navigating these changes will be crucial as society embraces the possibilities and challenges presented by resurrection AI.
To delve deeper into the topic of generative AI and its implications for human rights, listen to the full conversation with Sam Gregory on “The Future of You” podcast, set to air on June 22nd.