Witcher Voice Actor Cautions Against AI in Gaming

Renowned Actor of Witcher Character Geralt of Rivia  Raises Concerns Over Unethical Use of AI in the Video Game Industry

Doug Cockle, the acclaimed voice behind Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher series, has voiced his apprehension and frustration regarding the escalating presence of artificial intelligence in the video game industry. While acknowledging AI as an inevitable part of game development, Cockle emphasized the potential dangers, particularly when AI is utilized for questionable purposes.

Cockle expressed his primary concern, not with AI itself, but with its misuse by individuals for unethical practices. He highlighted instances where AI is employed to replicate human voices for NPCs and background characters, emphasizing the ethical implications of digitizing someone’s voice without their explicit consent.

The veteran voice actor revealed that an AI company approached him to incorporate his Geralt voice into their database, a request he staunchly declined. Cockle stressed that his reluctance wasn’t rooted in a dislike for AI but rather in the realization that voice actors, especially those portraying main characters, face the unsettling reality of their voices being exploited without permission.

Addressing the impact on voice actors, Cockle discussed how even well-intentioned use, such as fans creating mods for games like The Witcher, can adversely affect them by diminishing potential income. He highlighted the need for actors to retain control over how their voices are utilized in the digital realm.

Cissy Jones, another voice actor known for various roles, has taken a proactive approach by founding Morpheme.ai, a company that aims to empower voice actors in embracing AI while retaining control over their voices. Cockle expressed support for such initiatives, emphasizing the importance of creating solutions to safeguard actors’ interests.

While acknowledging the increasing interest in voice actors within the gaming community, Cockle emphasized the personal nature of these voices, urging the industry to find a balance that respects actors’ contributions and prevents the misuse of AI-generated content. As the debate around AI in gaming unfolds, efforts are being made to establish boundaries and ethical guidelines, ensuring the technology benefits both creators and actors without compromising integrity.