This article delves into how artificial intelligence (AI) disrupts the Hollywood industry. It focuses on the recent labor disputes involving AI and how unions like the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) seek protections against AI misuse. The piece also explores AI’s potential for the industry beyond the perceived threats.
“The threat of AI shut down Hollywood for nearly six months, but its real potential remains to be seen.” – Source.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a fringe technology. Its impact is felt across diverse industries, and Hollywood is no exception. The recent labor disputes and negotiations in Hollywood have highlighted the industry’s growing concerns about AI, particularly its potential misuse.
The Rising Threat of AI in Hollywood
One of the prevailing fears is that AI could be used to scan actors and recreate their performances without consent or fair compensation. There are also concerns about large language models being used on scripts, potentially overshadowing the role of screenwriters. As a result, unions like the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have been fighting for protections against these potential threats.
Unions Stand Up to AI Misuse
The contract terms between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have been subject to intense negotiations. The most recent proposal sought to allow studios to pay for AI scans of confident performers and to use these scans posthumously without the consent of the performers’ estate or SAG. However, the guild pushed back, asking for compensation and support.
When the Writers Guild of America settled their labor dispute, they secured protections to ensure AI-generated material didn’t come for rewrites and that studios couldn’t train AI models on their scripts without approval. The outcome of SAG’s negotiations is eagerly awaited to see if they secured similar protections.
AI: A Disruptor and an Opportunity
While AI is seen as a threat, it also holds immense potential for the industry. The unregulated use of generative AI can revolutionize the industry like streaming services disrupt traditional models. The real potential of AI in Hollywood is yet to be fully realized and understood.
AI technology could redefine the industry’s traditional roles and structures as it advances. For instance, the technology could create deepfake performances or write scripts, potentially cutting studios out of the picture. While this could seem threatening, it could also open up new opportunities. For instance, homebrew AI-generated videos might not be cinema-quality now but could be in the future. This could democratize content creation, allowing anyone to create their TV show or movie.
Tech Disrupts Indiscriminately
Indeed, technology disrupts indiscriminately, and AI’s disruption of Hollywood is no different. It poses both challenges and opportunities. The key lies in how the industry responds and adapts to these changes. The recent labor disputes highlight the industry’s growing awareness and proactive stance towards AI’s potential misuse. However, it’s equally essential for the industry to embrace AI’s opportunities to continue innovating and evolving in this digital age.