A new documentary about the life and tragic death of Anthony Bourdain—the chef, best-selling author, and universal TV star—aroused backlash because he used artificial intelligence (AI) to reproduce his voice, let him say Out of lines he may never say aloud. “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” was produced by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, who decided to use artificial intelligence to apply Bourdain’s voice to the three quotations used in the movie . Neville said that he contacted a software company and gave it about 12 hours of recording to obtain about 45 seconds of quotations from the film.

“I created an artificial intelligence model for his voice,” the filmmaker told The New Yorker in an interview recently. He added: “We can set up a documentary ethics group on this later.”

When the interviewer asked Neville how he managed to get Bourdain’s voice to read an email he himself sent to a friend, the use of artificial intelligence was exposed. This dialogue also appeared in the trailer for the two-hour documentary. It goes like this, “You succeeded, I succeeded, I want to know: Are you happy?”, which appeared in the trailer below about 1:30 minutes.

The use of artificial intelligence has created disagreements among audiences, some of whom have raised questions about the ethics of filmmakers.

“If audiences start to doubt the authenticity of what they are hearing, then they will question everything about the movie they are watching,” Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Mark Jonathan Harris told the New York Times.

However, Neville said that he used modern technology in some places, and he thinks it is important to make Bourdain’s “words come to life”.

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Many people think this is unnecessary, because the audience will infer that the celebrity chef said these conversations while he was alive, and someone might have recorded it. The documentary was released in the United States on July 16.


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