Godfrey Lao, Coco Lee AI resurrections spark criticism

Occurred: March 2024

The use of AI by a Chinese vlogger to recreate Taiwanese Canadian actor Godfrey Gao and Chinese American singer Coco Lee sparked outrage among Chinese social media users.  

Videos showing Coco Lee and Godfrey Gao addressing their viewers. Lee’s AI avatar told her fans, 'Through this video, I have the opportunity to be reunited with all of you. Since the moment I left this world, I have always been able to sense your endless love and support.'

When questioned about infringing on the late celebrities’ rights, the vlogger reportedly claimed that what they did was not imitation but 'an expression of love for Coco,' adding that the videos were AI generated and free. However, the people behind Lee's videos were purportedly offering services to digitally bring back the deceased using AI for a fee of 588 yuan (USD 83).

The videos prompted fans to request the vlogger to stop causing distress to the celebrities' families, and sparked discussions about the legal implications of using a deceased person’s name, image, voice and reputational likeness in an AI video, for commercial purposes or otherwise. 

Lee committed suicide in 2023, and Gao died aged 35 in 2019.

System 🤖

Country: China
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Recreate dead people
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Ethics/values; Personality rights
Transparency: Governance; Marketing