To Morelos Torres and Edgardo Bermejo eternal friends.
A couple of weeks ago, singer Bad Bunny’s anger went viral after a song created with artificial intelligence by a DJ, who has a TikTok account called FlowGPT, went viral. Behind this creation is Maury Senpai, who invited the singer to the dialogue and offered to give him the song written by him called “Nostalgia.” In this song, the voices of the Puerto Rican and Justin Bieber are used, achieving great acceptance by the platform’s public, which, by the way, contrasts with the new album recently released by the artist.
FlowGPT defended its creation by arguing the lack of “anti-robot” laws limiting the use of people’s voices. He stated that copyright protection focuses on ideas. In addition, he presented artificial intelligence as a way for creators with fewer material resources and professional networks to make themselves known. He pointed out the structures of power and privilege that often allow a creator to succeed globally, even though there are many talented creators who, lacking these structures, fall through the cracks. He called for collaborative work and the creation of digital work networks.
Bad Bunny’s anger was reflected through his followers, who began to wonder if this type of creations would generate a wave of “pirate songs” that would make it difficult to discern the authors’ original creations. The response of many Internet users was in support of FlowGPT, they ridiculed the singer’s anger and produced many new songs with his voice, of course, as a parody and without the professionalism of “Nostalgia”. However, the debate and its questions are not exactly new; The Hollywood actors union has been on strike for several months, one of the reasons is the possibility that the industry uses the actors’ image permanently with the help of artificial intelligence, the actors would be scanned and used indefinitely in exchange for payment for a single day of work, with no profits for other productions that use its digital clone.
Both cases raise one of the fundamental questions of our time: are we owners of our identity? Although it seems that with the predominance of web 2.0 it is increasingly easier for us to be impersonated and with artificial intelligence the possibilities increase exponentially, the truth is that more than the use of a voice or an image, the indiscriminate use of the identity. This goes beyond obtaining or not obtaining a fair payment in cases of creation, where not only the ideas must be protected (which are also at risk in the case of writers and screenwriters) but also the right of a person to be recognized as such through his will and consent.
Although we are in favor of technological development, this does not mean forgetting the responsibilities of its use and the limitations to avoid abuse. Artificial intelligences pose ethical challenges that, outside the industry, also generate problems that can even become criminal. Creating content that spreads fake news or defames people through content created in their name without their consent is a real risk for anyone. The lack of clarity about rights and property, not only of ideas but also of image, voice and other elements associated with personality, calls for reflection and legislative action. It is argued that owning the rights to a voice would leave many people without it, since many voices are similar and it is true; but it is also true that, if a voice is used associated with an identity, it is not a generic voice. The same goes for a digital clone. So, although FlowGPT is right and there are no laws limiting this use, that does not mean that we should not encourage public debate and the creation of such laws, since the new situation is here to stay.