The Singularity is Nigh: Amazon Fake Brand Personality Follows China’s Fake News Presenter with US Right of Publicity Infringement

Remember when China’s Xinhua News Agency debuted its first AI news presenter modeled after real Xinhua anchor Zhang Zhao (taking “fake news” to a whole new level)?

Not to be outdone, Amazon has taken fake presenters to a whole new level–fake endorsers!  No more celebrity endorsers with their inflated fees for endorsing products they may or may not care about.  Oh, no.  Amazon goes all the way to fake on a one way trip to Minority Report-land.  According to Venture Beat:

If Amazon has its way, companies will soon tap Amazon Web Services (AWS) en masse to create voices tailored to their brands. The Seattle tech giant today launched Brand Voice, a fully managed service within Amazon Polly, Amazon’s cloud service that converts text into lifelike speech, that pairs customers with Amazon engineers to build AI-generated voices representing certain personas….

But this is the most ridiculous part of the story:

Such technology has obvious commercial implications. Brand voices — such as Progressive’s Flo, who is played by actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney — are often tasked with recording phone trees for interactive voice response (IVR) systems or e-learning scripts for corporate training videos. Synthesization could boost actors’ productivity by cutting down on ancillary recordings and pick-ups (recording sessions to address mistakes, changes, or additions in voiceover scripts) while freeing them up to pursue creative work — and enabling them to collect residuals.

Right.  See, Amazon’s just trying to be helpful.  Because the actors will still “collect residuals”.  Really?  And if that’s even true, how long to you think that’s going to last?  It’s a rather selective fact choice anyway because the real question is how much longer until the actor is replaced altogether and how close can the fake AI actor get to the original before its a right of publicity case?

Even that issue will probably not be around for very long–the direction is to replace the actor altogether like Max Headroom.

So why is this man laughing at you?

Bezos Laughing

@harrisonstephen: The Internet’s Dizzying Citogenesis Problem: Circular reporting is a real problem on platforms like Wikipedia

Two weeks ago, Dr. James Heilman discovered something strange. The Canadian emergency room physician and avid Wikipedia contributor noticed that DrugBank, an online database for drug information, was copying text directly from Wikipedia. Although Heilman considers Wikipedia’s medical content to be of surprisingly good quality, he was concerned—because he didn’t just find DrugBank copying and citing Wikipedia; he had also found several examples of Wikipedia likewisecopying and citing DrugBank.

Read the post on Slate

Must Read: @RobertBLevine_: What a Google Email to News Publications Means for the Music Business

The battle over the proposed European Union Copyright Directive is heating up — and technology companies have returned to their usual playbook. That means mobilizing nonprofit groups and academics they support, warning that policies will “break the internet,” and trying to get some creators and media companies on their side.

The latest example: An email from Google to news publications in its Digital News Initiative, a program the company established to help journalism online, asking them to lobby against parts of the Copyright Directive that are intended to help them. The email, from Google director of strategic relations Madhav Chinnappa, argues that giving publications an ancillary right to articles that they need to license content and requiring platforms to takes some responsibility to minimize the amount of copyrighted material uploaded by users would harm publications, as well as the internet. The email, obtained by Billboard, urges recipients to contact members of European Parliament to prevent the directive from passing parliament’s legal affairs committee with these provisions intact — which happened last week.

In layman’s terms, Google is asking a group of partners who have come to depend on its largesse to take action that will make them even more dependent.

Read the post on Billboard