Artist - Lainey Wilson - Grammys 2024 2

Lainey Wilson Addresses the Dangers of AI During Recent Congressional Session

February 6, 2024 11:00 pm GMT

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Before Lainey Wilson was off performing at pre-parties and nabbing her first Grammy award, she was busy testifying in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon (February 2).

Alongside Recording Academy President & CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and others, the hearing supported the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications Act of 2024 – also known as the No AI Fraud Act. The bipartisan legislation aims to “establish a federal framework to protect Americans’ right to their likeness and voice against AI-generated fakes and forgeries.”

Discussing the dangers of artificial intelligence's misuse in the music industry and beyond, Wilson took the stand to share her thoughts and experiences as a larger-than-life figure in the country music format.

"I use my music and my voice to tell stories, to connect to my fans, and to help them connect to each other. My art is uniquely, and literally – me: my name, my likeness, my voice," Wilson began. "I don’t have to tell you how much of a gut punch it is to have your name, likeness, or voice ripped from you and used in ways you could never imagine and would never allow. It’s wrong. Plain and simple."

The Louisiana native noted that, though there aren't many things in our control, the use of "our own selves" and "unique qualities" should be.

Going on to explain that AI can be helpful in many ways, Wilson equally cautioned that she's nervous about its power to take away people's 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. 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 argued, sharing that the success that artists work to create over a lifetime is being taken away "in a fraction of a second".

Stating that some creators have no qualms with AI using their voice and likeness, Wilson urged that others do and that participating in AI-generated content should be a choice everyone makes for themselves.

"AI-generated music and video using an artists’ unique identity to perform in questionable settings or to sing lyrics they would never write or express, that doesn’t reflect who they really are, is unacceptable." She continued, "An artist’s voice and likeness are their property and shouldn’t take a backseat to the economic interests of companies that have not invested in or partnered with the artist."

With several naysayers chiming in to argue that restrictions on AI would prohibit people's right to free speech, Wilson contended: "I’m a big proponent of free speech and I’m certainly no lawyer, but I do know that if you take away the ability of artists to express themselves, you are by definition limiting freedom of expression."

Adding that its average fans in need of protection, from high school girls experiencing "deep fake porn using their faces" to elderly people who fall victim to "vocal clone[s] of their grandchild in trouble", Wilson summed by saying: "AI increasingly affects every one of us, and I’m grateful that you are considering taking action to ensure that these tools are used in responsible ways... We need artists to keep telling stories, connecting with fans, and bringing people together – authentically. We need to keep humanity in art."

The 'Heart Like A Truck' tunesmith appeared as a representative for the Human Artistry Campaign, a group of creators and organizations promoting AI's ethical use. Wilson has previously been the victim of the poor use of AI. In the summer of 2023, an AI-generated likeness of Wilson was used to promote a brand of weight-loss gummies without her consent.

Similarly, the No AI Fraud Act isn't the first legislation the 31-year-old entertainer has supported, as she attended last month's press conference for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee's ELVIS Act (Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security). The proposed legislation will protect Tennessee musicians from deepfakes, allowing license holders to sue for damages incurred.

The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year is the second country artist to testify before Congress in 2024, with country-tap maverick Jelly Roll taking his turn at the podium in January to discuss the fentanyl crisis wreaking havoc across the United States.

For more on Lainey Wilson, see below:

Written by Lydia Farthing
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