The Battle for Fair Pay and AI Use
Screenwriters and actors in Hollywood have been engaged in a three-month battle with studios over fair pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in film and television production. The writers and actors are concerned about the studios’ use of AI to generate literary material from existing content and create digital replicas of their likeness and performances without consent or compensation.
Despite this, streaming giants Netflix and Disney have been actively recruiting AI talent. Netflix recently went viral for seeking a product management hire to support its machine learning platform, offering a salary range of $300,000 to $900,000 a year. Disney has also been bolstering its AI ranks.
Talent Struggles Amidst Strikes
The ongoing strikes by screenwriters and actors have resulted in talent being starved out. Many individuals have turned to platforms like Cameo, where they can offer personalized video greetings for extra income. Celebrities such as Brian Cox and Lindsay Lohan have joined Cameo to connect with their fans.
However, the strike has taken a toll on individuals like Billy Porter, who revealed that he had to sell his house due to the lack of work. The demands of the unions for fair wages have been met with criticism from Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, who deemed them unrealistic, despite his own significant earnings.
The Power of Solidarity
Celebrities from both coasts have come together in solidarity, sharing their thoughts on social media platforms like Instagram. The strikes mark a historic moment, with the aim of securing better pension and health plans, as well as residuals for the creative talent involved.
Although the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers represents a diverse group of companies, unity among unions is seen as a significant advantage. As Bowen Yang of Saturday Night Live expressed, the shared interests of unions serve as a significant boon against the studios.
Fighting for Fair Compensation and Transparency
The actors and writers are not only fighting for fair compensation but also demanding transparency from streaming networks. They believe that the current system exploits their talents without providing adequate wages. The emergence of AI technology further compounds their concerns, as it poses a potential threat to the jobs of working class actors.
Additionally, the battle against AI is viewed as essential to maintaining the role of human beings in the creative process. Mario Van Peebles emphasized the importance of human involvement in filmmaking, highlighting the impact it has on how individuals perceive themselves and their potential.
The Unstoppable March of AI
Despite the resistance from writers and actors, some argue that the integration of AI into the creative process is inevitable. Industry figures like Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus and Anduril, believe that studios cannot afford to exclude AI from writing and editing processes. Others point to the growing implementation of AI tools in various creative endeavors as evidence of its unstoppable progress.
Wesley Chan, co-founder of FPV Ventures and an early employee at Google, encourages observers to stay tuned to the disruption unfolding in Hollywood. While acknowledging the negative consequences, Chan emphasizes the technological march forward that tends to be unstoppable.