Voice Actor’s Dystopian AI Audition Is Even Worse Than Black Mirror

filed under labor
A big fear for voice actors is synthetic AI voices. (Credit: Passionfruit)

Whelp. The AI situation has just gone from bad to worse.

Sean Kelly (@seankellysays), a voice actor who has become known for his uncanny Rick and Morty impressions, warned in a new TikTok that “AI is gonna take over, but not because [he] gave in.”

“So you guys aren’t gonna believe this,” he began. “But somebody reached out to me in my DMs on Instagram, and they wanted me for Justin Roiland impressions. So, we set up a phone call for today. And during the phone call, I find out that he’s specifically looking for Justin Roiland.”

So far, so good. But red flags started to emerge for Kelly after the potential employer explained that the final result wouldn’t necessarily be his voice, but rather, a blending of ten Justin Roiland impressions to make an entirely AI version of the disgraced Rick and Morty creator.

What made it worse was that, according to Kelly, the employer seemed to be “trying to avoid” confirming it was an AI-driven project.

Kelly claims he also “tried to sell” the opportunity to him by insisting that “nobody would know” it was his voice and “nobody would get mad” at him for doing it.


ai is gonna take over, but it won’t be because I gave in. #rickandmorty #impression #voiceover #fyp #foryoupage

♬ original sound – Sean Kelly

“So, voice actors, if you are getting these Instagram messages, just make sure that you do your homework and don’t waste your time,” he concluded.

Kelly’s quite frankly terrifying experience comes hot on the heels of SAG-AFTRA’s new proposed contract, which, according to some voice actors, falls short of protecting voice actors from having their likeness used for AI projects.

While the contract stipulates that voice actors need to provide express consent for their voice to be used to make “synthetic performers,” sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that union members are unhappy that the contract leaves room for AI-generated voice work at all.

The most ghoulish part is that, according to this contract, an actor’s voice can be used in the making of “synthetic performers” even after their death. Ultimately, if Kelly’s story tells us anything, it’s that SAG-AFTRA may have missed a trick in not trying to prohibit the use of AI outright.

And if nothing else, the looming presence of AI in the creator economy is stranger and more terrifying than any kind of science fiction.

Content for Creators.

News, tips, and tricks delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Newsletter Signup

Top Stories