Earlier this year a producer from Animo Films got in touch with me asking me to discuss my experience of finding my voice on an AI site for their upcoming RTE documentary.
Game Changer: AI & You is their new one-hour documentary which aired on RTÉ One in November. Made in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland for Science Week, the documentary sees journalist Anne-Marie Tomchak take a look at how this technology is transforming human experience and how we need to adapt to cope with AI’s increasing power and influence on our lives.
The show explores the positive developments in areas like health, education and climate action, as well as touching on the negatives – the scourge of misinformation and deep fakes, the threat to jobs, the existential concern around artificial intelligence becoming more intelligent than us and the fact that our ability to determine what is real or fake is being increasingly compromised by the capabilities of AI.
My segment focused on voice acting and the arts more broadly, arts ownership, and fair remuneration for creative works.
You can see a clip of my interview here, and the full documentary can be caught on the RTE Player.
Above is a still from the ICCL event I took part in a fortnight ago, 'Human Rights at Risk: AI and Facial Recognition Tech in the Arts' in the fantastic venue of The Complex in Dublin, which was a success, with a surprisingly good turnout, despite the biblical downpour of the evening (here I am being interviewed by Karlin Lillington, tech writer of The Irish Times).
Different perspectives about the impact of AI and FRT in the arts were discussed, including some points (from writer Joanna Walsh) very much in favour of exploring the possibilities of this new technology - an approach I hadn't considered due to my own experience, but an interesting one to consider, nonetheless.
As Olga Cronin of the ICCL argued, FRT also poses a huge threat to human rights globally, and combined with the biometric and intellectual data scraping that AI is doing across the board, it made for a very grim discussion at times.
However, there is always hope for a brighter future, and consensus was that artists could use this time to make interesting work about what is going on - that the precarious and worrisome now offers an opportunity to break new ground and reach further than ever before, touching hearts and minds, as well as opening them. Which is what's needed of course, if humans are to win out against the machines (or to be more precise, the other humans who have created them).
Much to ponder, much to create.
The AI discussion rambles on in ever-new iterations, and this certainly won't be my last post on the topic!
If the prospect of FRT in Ireland frightens you (and it probably should) you can sign the ICCL's petition against its introduction (both covertly and overtly) here:
I DO NOT CONSENT TO FRT
TOMORROW! At The Complex, IFSC, 7pm the panel discusses -
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI applications such as facial recognition technology (FRT) are on the rise.
Throughout the world, AI tools are being used to produce news articles; to generate images, footage, sounds and voices; to change and recreate the appearance of actors; and to create art in all its forms.
Meanwhile, facial recognition technology (FRT) – an application of AI – is being rolled out by police and private companies in countries across the world with serious implications for our fundamental rights.
And this isn't a dystopian future. It's happening here, and it's happening now. Musicians have boycotted US event venues which are using FRT to scan attendees at events. In Ireland, the Government wants to legalise Garda use of facial recognition technology, which would have serious human rights implications for all of us. The chilling effect of this technology could also severely impact people's ability to protest.
At this event, chaired by Karlin Lillington of the Irish Times, and featuring myself, Joanna Walsh, Pradeep Mahadeshwar, and Olga Cronin as panelists, we discuss what the human rights implications of these technologies are for artists and activists, who find themselves at the front lines of their introduction -
And ask, what can artists and activists in Ireland expect in the near future, and what can we do to protect our rights?
Due to interest this event sold out of its original venue and has moved to a larger space to accommodate the growing audience - grab your tickets (they're free!) while you can - here.
Yesterday I had the honour of interviewing the remarkable author and activist Winnie M Li as part of the Murder One crime writing festival 2023, which took place away from the strangely balmy October weather (and the crowds of a bustling Dun Laoighaire), inside the cool auditorium of the DLR LexIcon. A fantastic library and cultural space (dare I venture to say - the best...?)
We had a really insightful chat in front of a great audience - delving into the wider issues around sexual assault and rape in our society, the long term impact of #MeToo, parallel lives and split identities, and power and privilege in the game between victim and attacker.
This morning, then, I came across a piece I had written for writing.ie in 2018, about my first novel, The Glass Door, and the similarities in theme were quite startling - about power and its abuses, and the perceived unreliability of the female mind.
Women’s stories are insular, subjective; so we are told. Their perception is caged, turned in like an ingrown hair, lacking the power or the reach to affect anything other than themselves. In cases like these where at one end of the scale is a powerful man with everything to lose and the other is a woman who has already lost almost everything, we repeatedly see concern tilt the scales in favour of possible consequences for the abuser....A man’s experience has influence, breadth; it is written into law, built into the foundations of cities. A woman’s is limited to the boundary of her skin.
It was lovely to be back in my old haunt of North London last week as part of a new project I'm working on.
This is an exciting new creative direction I'm taking and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you soon.
Watch this space!
“Creativity is a basic human response to trauma and a natural emergency defense system,” writes Louise DeSalvo in Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. Art has been a human drive for as long as we know – from the cave wall paintings of prehistoric times, to the myriad forms of art that humans create today. It is a way for us to express our unique experience of the world we live in; to try to claim and hold still a moment of time in our fleeting lives. It is also a way to help us let go of those dark places in our psyches – moments of time that hold us so tightly it feels we may never be able to shake them free, keeping us bound to a place we may be desperate to run away from.....
Read the rest of the article I wrote for writing.ie here, ahead of the Winnie M LI #Complicit Murder One event I'll be presenting on October 8th at 1pm in the DLR Lexicon in association with the DRCC.
It's rare, in these home studio via Zoom times, to be invited into the 'real' studios these days.
So when it happens, I document it.
That's why I've made this little slideshow from my day out in Dublin city in Screenscene Post, recording voice for KPMG from a couple of weeks ago. I often forget to take pictures when I'm doing the home studio recordings. But I always remember to snap my in-person live sessions.
Real studios and real people. You just can't beat 'em!
'If speaking up could cost you everything, what would you really do?'
I'll be chatting to author Winnie M Li about her acclaimed novel #Complicit, and her own experiences of the film industry and #MeToo at the Murder One Festival in the Dun Laoighaire Lexicon (the best library!) on Sunday, the 8th of October at 1pm.
This is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and talk with the brilliant Winnie, and to pick up where I left off when I edited The Broken Spiral anthology of short stories in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, as well as bring my own knowledge of the - often - murky film industry to the table as we discuss the leverage of power, secrets, and abuse - both overt and hidden - in our society.
I'm really looking forward to this. Please join us.
The voice-over world is a mixed bag at the moment - an industry that has seen countless changes over the last three years in particular, with those changes seeming to ramp up in speed and intensity almost daily.
It's keep up or get left behind time!
Pivot or pass out.
Stick or twist.
So, with all this relentless chopping and changing going on, it's refreshing when long-term clients stay steady, like my work for Cow and Gate Ireland, a client I've been representing on their radio and television commercials in Ireland since 2015.
I was naturally delighted when they chose me again for their 2023 round of adverts across the country.
Equally, I was delighted - albeit a little surprised - when Des Kelly Interiors, kings of the hard sell, got in touch to get me on board for their latest commercial campaign, a dreamy, whimsical advert that showcases their new mattresses... ah, just thinking about it now is sending me into a pleasant daze....
Sorry, sorry, nearly drifted off there.
Between the old and the new, in this line of work you can often be taken by surprise by which way the path turns.
In any case, my recent commercial work is very on brand for my current stage of life - between babies and beds, it doesn't take much to get me into character for the reads. Now, a nice nap after a turbulent night with the little one seems just the ticket.
May your week ahead be a restful one.
Until next time,
RM Clarke is a writer and voice-over artist. She has written for various literary mags and anthologies and won awards. She has put her voice to most things she can think of.