Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an impact on professions across the globe, and on threatening terms for many. Workers in the motion picture industry are among those battling AI’s influence, and both members of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are striking as negotiations regarding their future careers in the world of AI are at a standstill. The simultaneous strikes are bringing Hollywood to a halt, forcing all work to pause until an agreement has been reached.
According to Rolling Stone, the negotiations between the two unions and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) have had to be extended beyond its deadline. One of the major focal points in the negotiations is the fast development of AI and the fear that it will replace actors and screenwriters.
Members and non-members of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA grew worried after AMPTP’s proposal, which “holds the potential to wipe out an entire pathway to breaking into the industry, as well as a reliable source of income for many. The reported proposal hinged on the ability for background actors to be ‘scanned, get paid for one day’s pay’ and for that company to ‘own that scan of their image, their likeness, and to be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation,'” Rolling Stone reports.
Actor Patrick McCann pointed out that if an actor does background work for a specific company, there is a chance that company may use its AI database to utilize “previously filmed footage or scanned data for another show,” getting around ever having to hire the same actor again. Additionally affected are the thousands of workers who prepare the actors for their work including make-up and wardrobe employees.
Many actors, especially those trying to break into the industry, expressed their concern that they may never be able to pursue a career in Hollywood because of AI. Not only are actors pointing out the severe money loss if replaced by AI, but also the use of their likeness in a film or show without their consent.
The threat of AI in the motion pictures industry is being taken very seriously by those whose unique talents are being undermined and undercut by its advancement. As the strikes continue, employees of the motion pictures industry will be forced to wait for their next paycheck until the negotiations are successful.