The potential misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) in Hollywood has raised concerns among industry professionals. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher asserts that the combination of Wall Street greed and technology without empathy is a “deadly cocktail” that needs strict regulation. With the emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI), which can write scripts and digitally duplicate actors’ images, the issue has become a strike matter for both SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild. This article delves into the need for regulations to address the misuse of AI in the entertainment industry.
Artificial intelligence has long been employed in the entertainment industry, particularly in computer-generated imagery (CGI). However, the advent of GAI has introduced new challenges. GAI has the capability to generate entire scripts and digitally replicate actors, stunt performers, and background players. Unfortunately, this technology has also enabled the creation of “deep fakes,” where the faces and voices of individuals are computer-generated onto other bodies, often in explicit content.
Harmful Effects of Misused AI
Drescher emphasizes the dangers of unregulated AI use in Hollywood. She describes it as a poison that threatens the livelihoods of actors and dehumanizes the industry. She believes that the combination of greed and a lack of empathy among those in control of AI technology can have devastating consequences. Actors’ likeness, gestures, and voices are their selling points, and without proper consent and compensation, their value is undermined.
To prevent the misuse of AI, Drescher strongly advocates for strict regulations that prioritize consent and compensation. She insists that there should be no compromise when it comes to compensating actors and obtaining their consent. Informed consent should be a basic requirement, allowing actors to have control over the use of their digital replicas. Additionally, fair compensation should be provided for the utilization of actors’ digital likenesses.
Resistance from the Industry
Despite the reasonable nature of SAG-AFTRA’s proposals, Drescher and the guild have faced significant opposition from Hollywood studios and executives. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director, conveys that AI poses a legitimate threat to members’ careers. Rather than embracing common-sense regulations, these companies have fought to retain control over the use of actors’ bodies, faces, and voices. This abusive behavior is something that the industry cannot tolerate.
Challenges to Achieving Employee-Friendly Industry
Drescher criticizes the studio CEOs as megalomaniacs who are out of touch with the needs of actors. She yearns for someone with the courage and character to promote a more employee-friendly industry. However, she finds it disheartening that the CEOs have shown little interest in the negotiations. Drescher believes that their absence demonstrates their lack of concern for the well-being of the actors.
Drescher’s hope is that the ongoing strikes will bring about a transformation in the industry. She desires a future where an employee-friendly culture is prioritized. She envisions SAG-AFTRA as the central force that drives the industry, leveraging the artistry of its members.
One of the prime goals of SAG-AFTRA is to secure a larger share of the revenue generated from streaming platforms. The guild proposes that cast members should receive a portion of the revenue when their performances are exhibited on these platforms. Additionally, they advocate for a subscription-based residuals formula, ensuring that actors receive appropriate compensation based on the streaming platform’s success.
The potential misuse of AI in Hollywood poses significant threats to actors’ livelihoods and the integrity of the industry. Strict regulation is necessary to protect against deep fakes and GAI. SAG-AFTRA’s focus on consent and compensation is essential to safeguard actors’ rights. By promoting an employee-friendly culture, the guild strives to bring about positive change in the entertainment industry.