The Dispute Between Hollywood and SAG-AFTRA Over Responsible AI Use

JJohn November 18, 2023 6:31 PM

Hollywood's Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has been clashing with film studios over the unrestricted use of AI technologies to digitally replicate actors. The disagreement culminated in a strike that saw a work stoppage in the entertainment industry. The strike may be ending, but the new labor contract's AI provisions have actors worried about how responsibly studios will handle the technology.

Strike over unrestricted AI usage may be nearing its end

Members of the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have been on strike over the unrestricted use of AI technology to digitally capture and use the likenesses of living actors. After four grueling months that saw a complete work stoppage in the entertainment industry, the end may be in sight. However, the proposed labor contract's provisions around AI usage have actors worried. They fear the studios are being given too much power and autonomy, without proper oversight or restrictions.

The proposed agreement introduces new provisions for consent and compensation, aiming to protect actors from the potential misuse of AI. The contract's wording, however, leaves room for interpretation, leading to concerns among union members. The fear is that the studios could exploit these ambiguities, undermining the very protections the agreement aims to provide. Some members are wary of the amount of trust the contract places in the studios to act responsibly. This is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed in order to build consensus and support for the agreement.

Potential loopholes in contract spark debate

The agreement would allow studios to create digital replicas of actors, but only with the actors' express consent. However, critics are wary of potential loopholes that could benefit the studios. One such provision allows studios to continue using an actor's digital likeness even after their death, unless expressly forbidden in their contracts. Critics argue this could be exploited by studios, undermining the rights of actors and their estates. This is another contentious issue that needs to be resolved for the agreement to be accepted by all parties involved.

Critics call for stronger legal protections

Should actors feel that the contract is being violated, the agreement includes arbitration as the primary recourse. However, critics argue that this isn't sufficient. They maintain that legal protections should be more robust and that actors should have more avenues for redress. Legal protections are particularly essential in light of the rapidly evolving nature of AI technology. This crucial aspect of the agreement emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the rights and interests of actors are adequately protected.

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