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President Biden Calls for Ban on AI Voice Impersonations During State of the Union

President Biden included a nod to a rising issue in the entertainment and tech industries during his State of the Union address Thursday evening, calling for a ban on AI voice impersonations.

“Here at home, I have signed over 400 bipartisan bills. There’s more to pass my unity agenda,” President Biden said, beginning to list off a series of different proposals that he hopes to address if elected to a second term. “Strengthen penalties on fentanyl trafficking, pass bipartisan privacy legislation to protect our children online, harness the promise of AI to protect us from peril, ban AI voice impersonations and more.”

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The president did not elaborate on the types of guardrails or penalties that he would plan to institute around the rising technology, or if it would extend to the entertainment industry. AI was a peak concern for SAG-AFTRA during the actors union’s negotiations with and strike against the major studios last year. The talks eventually finished with an agreement that established consent and compensation requirements for productions to utilize AI to replicate actors’ likenesses and voices. However, the deal did not block the studios from training AI systems to create “synthetic” performers that bear no resemblance to any real people.

Biden’s State of the Union address also saw a series of small hiccups from heckling Congress members, including Georgia’s Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene donned a “Make America Great Again” hat to the proceedings; later, the broadcast cut to reveal that Greene was yelling during Biden’s speech.

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