Hollywood actors strike for the first 43 years. The American film and television industry comes to a standstill, in part due to fears over the impact of AI.
Screen Actors Guild, the US actor’s union, failed to reach an accord on AI rights.
The union warned “artificial Intelligence poses an existential risk to creative professions”.
What is it that makes a future dominated by technology so alarming?
AI has already replaced voiceover artists in some cases. The tech is also being used to create visual effects, such as deepfakes or de-aging.
Liam Budd is the industrial official for audio and new media in Equity’s acting union. He said that he was concerned most about “performance-cloning”, where AI creates a performance using an actor’s voice or image.
He said that the technology is being used for a variety of things, such as automated audiobooks, voiceover work synthesised, digital avatars in corporate videos or even deepfakes in movies.
Mr Budd stated that “fear” was “circulating” amongst Equity members, and the union is trying to educate the members on their rights in a world which is rapidly changing.
Justine Bateman is a writer and film-maker who, in an interview with BBC Tech Life , earlier this year, stated that she didn’t think AI was needed by the entertainment industry.
“Technology should solve a particular problem, and AI does not solve any problems.” She said that we do not lack writers, actors or film-makers.
“It solves the problem for corporations who feel that they do not have enough profit margins. If you eliminate the overhead costs of paying everyone, you can appease Wall Street while achieving higher earnings reports.
If AI is used more widely, it will destroy the entire entertainment industry.
It may only be a matter of time before ChatGPT and Bard are able to create a new movie script, or transform an idea into an exciting screenplay.
AI is said to lack the human touch that makes a great film script, but some legitimate fears are that it could put writers out-of-work.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, a UK-based trade union that represents writers in TV, film and theatre as well as books and video games, has several concerns.
- AI developers use writers’ work and violate writers’ rights without permission
- AI tools fail to properly identify content where AI is used
- The use of AI will reduce the number of jobs for writers
- AI is a threat to writers’ wages
- AI will dilute contributions of the creative industries to the UK economy as well as national identity.
The WGGB made a few recommendations to protect writers. These include requiring that AI developers use writers’ work only if the writers have given their permission, and that AI developers be transparent about which data they are using to train their tools.
WGGB’s deputy general secretary Lesley Gannon stated, “As we do with all new technologies, we must weigh the risks and benefits. We also need to ensure that the pace of development doesn’t outpace the protections writers and other creative workers rely on to earn a living.
Regulation is needed to protect workers’ rights and audiences from misinformation and fraud.
As AI has developed rapidly over the last year, the concept of ownership has become more complex.
Anyone can use the images created by AI portrait apps such as DrawAnyone or DALL-E.
The BBC interviewed Dr Mathilde Pavis, an attorney who specializes in digital cloning technology. She said that UK copyright legislation needs to be changed.
It’s odd to me that my face and voice are less protected than my car, laptop, phone, house, or books, but that’s how the law is today.
She said, “We didn’t expect to be as vulnerable and as susceptible as we are when it comes to being imitated or reused by AI technology.”