_
_
_
_
_

Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda slams AI for recreating her father’s voice

In a message on her social media accounts, the actress and screenwriter once again positioned herself in favor of the Hollywood strike, saying her dad ‘definitely would’ve been out there fighting the good fight for art and artists’

Robin Williams and her daughter Zelda
Zelda and Robin Williams, on the red carpet at the 'People's Choice' Awards, in Los Angeles, in 2009.Stephen Shugerman (Getty Images)

Hollywood has been involved in an unprecedented strike for months for many reasons. One of them is the use of artificial intelligence as a tool to facilitate screenwriting. This time it was Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams, the actor and comedian known for hits like Good Will Hunting or Dead Poets Society, who slammed the way that some American production companies have been manipulating her late father’s voice. “I’ve witnessed for YEARS how many people want to train these models to create/recreate actors who cannot consent, like Dad. This isn’t theoretical, it is very, very real,” she wrote in an Instagram story. The actor’s daughter has shown support for the actors’ strike — which is still ongoing — on several occasions and has demanded more controls on the use of AI. Her father “definitely would’ve been out there fighting the good fight for art and artists,” she added on occasion of the anniversary of the 1993 release of Mrs. Doubtfire, an unprecedented success for her father, who took his own life in August 2014.

Zelda Williams, who has described AI technology as “disturbing,” said on Instagram that “while I find it personally disturbing, the ramifications go far beyond my own feelings. Living actors deserve a chance to create characters with their choices, to voice cartoons, to put their HUMAN effort and time into the pursuit of performance.”

One of the main reasons why screenwriters and actors went on strike was to protect themselves from artificial intelligence. “These recreations are, at their very best, a poor facsimile of greater people,” added Williams, who has herself worked as an actress and director. “But at their worst, a horrendous Frankensteinian monster, cobbled together from the worst bits of everything this industry is, instead of what it should stand for.”

Robin Williams died at the age of 62 in his home in California after struggling for years with anxiety, depression, and Parkinson’s. The autopsy also revealed that he suffered from dementia. Zelda has spoken out about how she coped with the grief of her father’s death. In a Netflix interview with Chelsea Handler in 2016, she said: “It was very funny because, for a while, no one would let me do anything,” she shared. “I think there’s that reaction of like, ‘Oh, s—, are you OK?’ And then even if you are OK, they’re like, ‘Well, what’s wrong?’ For a while, I was just kind of left to my own devices. But then also you’re like, ‘Is there something wrong with me?’ And also, I didn’t see daylight for a while.”

Hollywood actors are currently on strike over a range of issues, but a week ago, the screenwriters called off their protest after reaching an agreement with the studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The agreement ended one of the longest strikes in the industry. However, most film and television productions will remain on hold while the actors’ strike continues, with negotiations resuming this week.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
_
_