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AI Sparks Labor Strikes in Entertainment Industry: How Actors and Writers Fear the Impact

Strikes in the entertainment industry, such as by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, are driven by concerns about AI. Writers worry about their roles being replaced or diminished by AI, while actors fear the repeated use of their likenesses through deepfake technologies.

The ongoing labor strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild in the entertainment industry are fueled, in part, by concerns surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and its growing role. Both actors and writers are apprehensive about the potential use of generative AI by major studios, as it could significantly affect their professions and creative control.

Generative AI is a form of artificial intelligence that learns from text and images to autonomously create new written and visual content.

Writers fear that AI may replace them or diminish their creative roles. They worry about their work being used as fodder for AI tools and the rise of "prompt engineers" who work with AI-generated content.

Actors have concerns about their likeness being used repeatedly by studios through deepfake technologies. They also worry about the synthesis and reuse of their voices without ongoing compensation.

Examples of AI in entertainment:

    • Marvel used AI tools for some aspects of its series "Secret Invasion," sparking controversy.
    • A software developer created a sci-fi film trailer entirely with AI-generated images and motion, without hiring screenwriters or actors.
    • A company called Fable released Showrunner AI, which allows users to integrate themselves into existing TV shows.
    • Volkswagen featured an AI reincarnation of a deceased musician in a commercial, raising questions about the posthumous use of likenesses.

The entertainment industry's dismissive attitude toward writers and actors could lead to AI-driven production with minimal consideration for their needs and creative input. There's a need for collaboration between AI developers, writers, actors, and other industry professionals to address concerns and create a more inclusive cinematic ecosystem.

The labor strikes in the entertainment industry highlight the evolving role of AI and its potential impact on writers and actors. To ease their fears and ensure a balanced approach, the industry must engage these creative professionals in shaping AI tools and their use in entertainment, addressing issues related to intellectual property, copyright, and creativity. Such collaboration could lead to a more informed and creative cinematic future in the age of AI.