Actors Strike for Fair AI Compensation Amidst Soaring AI Investments in Entertainment

JJohn July 25, 2023 7:27 PM

As Hollywood executives splurge on artificial intelligence programs, actors and writers unions are striking for better wages and AI regulations. Netflix is offering as much as $900,000 for a single AI product manager. The actors demand protections against their scanned likeness being manipulated by AI, without sufficient compensation.

AI investments surge in entertainment industry

While Hollywood executives dismiss actor wage demands as unrealistic, they have no qualms investing heavily in AI technology. Disney's specific investments remain undisclosed, but other major players like Netflix have been quite transparent. Netflix, for example, is offering as much as $900,000 for a single AI product manager position, indicating the high value these corporations place on integrating AI into their business models.

Actors and writers demand fair AI regulations

Against the backdrop of burgeoning investments in AI by entertainment firms, actors and writers unions are striking for better wages and regulations on studios’ use of artificial intelligence. It's noteworthy that this is the first joint strike since 1960. At the heart of their demands are protections against the manipulation of their scanned likeness by AI without adequate compensation. They argue that the industry has enough money to go around, but its priorities are misaligned.

Not just actors, but writers in the entertainment industry are also threatened by AI advancements. Automated text-generating programs like ChatGPT can potentially replace their work. The Writers Guild of America is concerned about these AI programs receiving credits for writing a screenplay. They have been on strike since May, demanding labor safeguards against AI among other things.

Actors used to train emotion-expressing AI databases

Companies like Realeyes are hiring actors not for their traditional roles but to train AI databases to better express human emotions. However, experts argue that the boundary between research and commercial work isn't as clear as these companies suggest. The concern is that this 'research' might eventually be used to create digital actors, effectively replacing humans.

Role of AI in Netflix's content creation

Netflix's job adverts give us a glimpse into the extent of AI adoption in the entertainment industry. A $900,000-a-year job posting for an AI product manager hints at AI's uses beyond just show recommendations, including content creation. Moreover, the company has already started putting AI technology to work, as evident from a new Spanish reality dating series featuring AI-generated 'deepfake' simulations of contestants.

Disney, along with other entertainment giants, is looking for AI professionals to drive innovation across their cinematic pipelines and theatrical experiences. This move draws attention to the ubiquitous role of AI across all aspects of the entertainment industry. However, the company's CEO acknowledges that integrating AI into their current business model could present challenges, especially from an IP management perspective.

Actors fight to protect their IP from AI

While entertainment industry leaders are keen to embrace AI, actors are more cautious. Striking actors are seeking to protect their own intellectual property from AI. The core issue is not about AI in itself but about fair working conditions and control over their own likenesses, bodies, movements, and speech patterns. They argue for the need to own and control the means of production.

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