AI Cloning: Balancing Innovation with Legal Protections

AI Cloning: Balancing Innovation with Legal Protections

The capabilities of AI to clone voices and appearances have advanced rapidly. Recently, Scarlett Johansson accused OpenAI of creating a voice for its ChatGPT system that sounded eerily similar to hers, highlighting the ease with which AI can mimic individuals. AI companies like ElevenLabs and Synthesia can recreate anyone’s voice or appearance with just a few minutes of footage, creating digital clones that are almost indistinguishable from real people.

Potential Risks and Misuses

This technology poses significant risks. Instances of misinformation, such as fake robocalls using cloned voices of public figures, are becoming more common. Additionally, scammers have used AI clones for fraud, including an incident where a Hong Kong finance worker was deceived into transferring $25 million based on a video call with a deepfake of his boss.

Benefits of AI Cloning

Despite the risks, AI avatars have beneficial applications. They can be used for training, public health messaging, and even personalized education. Over half of Fortune 100 companies use AI avatars for various purposes, from onboarding to promotional videos. This technology can enhance communication and efficiency, particularly in multilingual and diverse environments.

Need for Legal and Ethical Standards

To address the challenges posed by AI cloning, new norms and legal protections are essential. Legislation that guarantees control over one’s digital likeness is a crucial step. A bipartisan bill targeting nonconsensual, sexualized AI-generated images is a good start, but broader protections are needed. Contracts should include clauses that require consent for using a person’s digital likeness.

Technological and Normative Solutions

AI developers are implementing measures to prevent misuse, such as embedding invisible fingerprints in AI-generated content. Regulations like the EU’s requirement to label AI-generated content can also help. Establishing norms for when and how to disclose the use of AI avatars is equally important, ensuring authenticity in communications, especially for well-known figures.


AI cloning technology offers numerous benefits but also poses significant risks. By updating laws and establishing clear ethical standards, we can harness the positive aspects of this technology while mitigating potential harms.

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