Country music’s Lainey Wilson pushes for AI protections: ‘Gut punch’ to have ‘voice ripped from you’

Country music star Lainey Wilson is speaking out about what she says are the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), telling a House Judiciary subcommittee that it’s a “gut punch” to “have your name, your likeness, or your voice ripped from you.”

The “Heart Like a Truck” singer testified Friday at a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet field hearing in Los Angeles focused on the “growing concerns about the misuse of AI technology.”

“I use my music and my voice to tell stories to connect to my fans and to help them to connect to each other. My art is uniquely and literally me: my name, my likeness, my voice,” Wilson told lawmakers.

“There aren’t many things that we can control in life, but making decisions about the use of our own selves, our own unique qualities, that should be one,” she said.

Appearing with the Human Artistry Campaign, Wilson said while she’s “excited” by the number of ways that AI can be used to help people, she’s “nervous about how it can be used to take personal rights.”

“Many creators have already seen their life’s work, and their own voices and images, thoughtlessly ingested into AI models without their permission,” Wilson said.

Last month, George Carlin’s estate sued the creators of an AI version of the comedian. New AI rules were also put in place as part of a deal reached to end last year’s Hollywood writers strike.

“Our identities represent years of work to hone our craft and make a livelihood out of our passion. Our voices and likenesses are indelible parts of us that have enabled us to showcase our talents and grow our audiences — not mere digital kibble for a machine to duplicate without consent,” Wilson said at Friday’s hearing.

The 31-year-old performer contended that AI developers shouldn’t make the choice for artists about whether their voices and likenesses are used in projects.

“AI-generated music and video — using an artist’s unique identity to perform in questionable settings or to sing lyrics that they would never write or express that does not truly reflect who they are — is unacceptable. It is a personal violation that threatens a person’s dignity and can put at risk everything that they have worked so hard to accomplish,” Wilson said at the hearing, held just days ahead of the 66th annual Grammy Awards.

Responding to proponents of AI who have argued that restrictions would prohibit freedom of speech, Wilson said, “if you take away the ability of artists to express themselves, you are, by definition, limiting freedom of expression.”

The issue goes beyond the music world, Wilson said.

“It’s not just artists who need protecting — the fans need it, too. It’s needed for high school girls who have experienced life-altering deepfake porn using their faces, for elderly citizens convinced to hand over their life savings by a vocal clone of their grandchild in trouble. AI increasingly affects every single one of us,” Wilson said.

The performer urged lawmakers to take action and support a bill, the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas and Unauthorized Duplications, known as the No AI FRAUD Act (H.R. 6943). The bipartisan legislation would “establish a federal framework to protect Americans’ individual right to their likeness and voice against AI-generated fakes and forgeries.”

“We need artists to keep telling stories, and connecting with fans and bringing people together authentically. And we need to keep humanity in art — we cannot lose that,” Wilson said.

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