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An AI startup based in Berkeley, Lovo, has found itself in hot water after being hit with a class action lawsuit. The company has been accused of stealing actors’ voices to create Genny, a publicly accessible AI voice generator. The allegations were made by voice actors Paul Lehrman and Linnea Sage, who claim that they were deceived into providing voice samples through a freelance website. They were under the impression that their recordings would be used internally or for academic purposes.

However, years later, Lehrman and Sage discovered that their voices had been cloned and were being publicly used without their permission or any additional compensation. Seeking justice not just for themselves but for all actors whose voices were used without consent, Lehrman and Sage are determined to stop Lovo from continuing this practice.

Instead of relying on direct quotes, the complaint filed by Steve Cohen, partner at Pollock Cohen LLP, asserts that actors’ voices are an integral part of their professional identity and should not be exploited without compensation. The lawsuit aims to emphasize the importance of actors having control over their voices and their professional destiny.

Lovo, the accused AI startup, operates a subscription-based service allowing users to access its AI voice generator. The generator can be used for various purposes such as creating advertisements, corporate training videos, product demos, and even customer service applications. Going beyond basic functionality, Lovo also promotes the ability to mimic celebrity voices, raising concerns about potential misuse and unauthorized impersonation.

This case highlights the growing debate surrounding the ethics of AI-driven technologies. While AI has undoubtedly brought about numerous advancements and possibilities, it is essential to address the potential risks it poses to privacy and individual rights. As technology continues to evolve, it is crucial for companies and individuals to navigate the boundaries of ethics and ensure that innovation does not come at the expense of personal integrity.