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“Not all voice actors are celebrities or well-known voices,” said Tim Friedlander, President of the National Association of Voice Actors and voice of CBS’s Professional Bull Riders. “Most are blue collar, working class voice actors who are working 40 plus hours a week. Over 60% of the voice actors are located outside of LA and New York. We’re not anti-tech or anti-AI, as many have said before.”  

There are many perspectives on generative AI. Friedlander’s was one of the dozen perspectives we heard in October, when creative professionals joined us at our roundtable to discuss how their respective lines of work are being reshaped by generative AI. Today, the FTC published a staff report voted out by the Commission that summarized some of the themes that emerged from the discussion.1 

Generative AI are artificial intelligence-based tools that can output text, sound, images, and other forms of content on command. These tools typically rely on large, diverse datasets of human-created content to function. 

Though many people partake in different forms of creative expression as hobbyists or amateurs, millions of Americans pursue creative work as a profession.2 Some of the people who shared their experiences at the event include:  

  • The editor of a science fiction and fantasy magazine 

  • A software developer and contributor to free and open source software projects 

  • Award winning artists who contributed to movies like Black Panther and Jurassic World along with video games like The Elder Scrolls 

  • The leaders of non-profit organizations and unions representing the voice acting industry, musicians, writers, fashion models, film, TV, and broadcast news. 

The voices of everyday, working Americans can sometimes be lost in discussions involving dense technical, policy, or legal language. While the benefits or risks of new technologies are being debated by policymakers, these individuals experience the effects of innovation in real-time. At the Office of Technology, we hire technologists,3 including investigative data journalists, human-computer interaction designers, user experience and tech researchers, who have expertise in understanding how people interact with – and may be impacted by – technology. October discussion underscored that people have concerns about generative AI that are relevant right now and not hypothetical.  

In participants’ own words, generative AI is having profound impacts today. For example, participants highlighted the lack of consent or awareness that their work is being used to train generative AI models, “Does that mean we have to opt out on each and every one of them?” asked Karla Ortiz, a concept and visual artist. “That's a full-time job.”  

Understanding these perspectives could be valuable, not everyone has time to watch the 96-minute video recording or read the 40+ page public transcript. To make these perspectives more accessible to the public, staff attempted to capture some common themes that emerged from the discussion in the outputs below, which include:  

  1. The report itself – supported by attorneys and technologists across the agency, which summarizes the event in terms of: how participants said their data is being obtained, what harms they said they face, how they view consent defaults, and what they’re doing to address generative AI.  

  1. A Quote Book resource (starting on page 25 of the report) – a compilation of quotes from the participants aggregated into common themes. This summary aims to be a resource, in case you want to see their takes on topics such as ineffective opt-out mechanisms or harm to an artist’s reputation or ability to earn income.  

For decades, the FTC has used its authorities to address deceptive or unfair acts or practices and unfair methods of competition as they relate to new and transformative technologies. There is no “AI exemption” from the laws on the books. The FTC will continue to listen and learn about the latest technological developments, and that includes hearing about the lived perspectives of everyday Americans, such as those who participated in the October discussion. 

Although many of the concerns raised during the discussion lay beyond the scope of the Commission’s jurisdiction, targeted enforcement under the FTC’s existing authority in AI-related markets can help to foster fair competition and protect people in creative industries and beyond from unfair or deceptive practices.  

“This is our life’s work,” said Douglas Preston, author of thirty-eight books, thirty-two of which have been New York Times bestsellers. “We pour our hearts and our souls into our books. They aren’t just products, they’re a part of us.” 


Thank you to staff across the agency who have collaborated on this effort: the Office of Technology (Madeleine Varner, Jessica Colnago, Stephanie Nguyen), the Office of Policy Planning (Anu Sawkar, Sarah Mackey, Elizabeth Wilkins), the Bureau of Competition (Marc Lanoue, Kelly Signs, Hillary Greene, Synda Mark), the Bureau of Consumer Protection (Monica Vaca, Dan Salsburg, Elizabeth Averill), Josephine Liu. 



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