Is Disney Looking to Replace More Actors With AI?

disney actors AI
Credit: Apple TV; Hotpot

A recent investment by the Walt Disney Company has us questioning whether the Mouse House is looking to let go of more creative talent.

The Walt Disney Company has come under fire in the past for its lack of proper protections for its artists and actors. In fact, all of Hollywood has faced these same criticisms. During the SAG (Screen Actors Guild)-AFTRA and WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike last year, one of the main points of discussion was the lack of job protections for creatives against artificial intelligence.

A recent investment from Disney, however, raises some interesting questions about Disney’s future involvement with AI technology.

The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company / Credit: Disney

Disney Invests in Two Language AI Startups

Through the Disney Accelerator Program, Disney is investing in two language-based artificial intelligence start-ups: AudioShake and ElevenLabs.

What do these companies do?

Per their website, AudioShake is “helping power the next wave of music, film, and content experiences by making audio interactive, customizable, and accessible.” In addition, as Slator explained, the company uses AI technology to parse audio tracks for mixing or dubbing.

For example, the company worked with musician Sia to allow her “to create lyric videos for her single ‘Gimme Love’ for fans in Spanish and French-speaking countries.”

bob iger and Disney

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: Disney

ElevenLabs is a multi-lingual AI voice startup that recently opened its own dubbing studio. It runs partnerships with various other parties, one example being Perplexity’s Discover Daily Podcast, which uses ElevenLabs’ AI-generated voices.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the 2024 Disney Accelerator,” ElevenLabs tweeted in February 2024. “Disney is one of the world’s most globally recognizable brands and has held a special place in our hearts since childhood.”

What is the Disney Accelerator Program?


cinderella castle save money walt disney world

Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Becky Burkett

This is not the first time that Disney has worked with artificial intelligence. In the past, the company has also worked on anti-aging technology, which they use in The Mandalorian. The technology worked to both reverse aging as well as age actors to make them older.

Working with AI was also something former Disney CEO Bob Chapek worked on, however, Disney has shut down many of the former CEO’s initiatives and is moving forward with a different route.

What do you think of these investments? Let Disney Dining know in the comments!

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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