What is the threat to humans from the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? In the film industry, screenwriters and actors are very concerned, and with good reason, about the misuse of artificial intelligence.
Imagine an actor makes a film and his image can be recreated years later for another role. For example, if today someone could use an image of Mel Gibson, and recreate it with artificial intelligence and take it to the big screen.
Intimate images may also be included without authorization because, in some cases, the contracts the producers want the actors to sign are to transfer the personal image.
On the other hand, some screenwriters believe their job could be at risk and replaced by AI. The reality is that this type of intelligence is fed by what is in the network and some works may be plagiarized.
For some time now, this fear has been lurking in Hollywood, and today industry activists assure that advances in technology are creating conflict with humanity.
Today the writers and actors of this industry are in trouble. Last June, on July 13, the largest labor protest in Hollywood that hasn’t been seen for 60 years officially began.
The Syndicato de Actores de la Pantala-Federación Estados Unidos de Artistas de Télévision y Radio (SAG-AFTRA), which brings together more than 160,000 members, has joined Huelga, which 11,500 writers and screenwriters have maintained since May to defend their labor rights, and in this case, their image rights as well.
Technology is involved in this labor noncompliance, as actors refuse to sign contracts in which they are charged a fee to make a film that is distributed to theaters, but do not receive a dollar when major film studios do other business with streaming platforms and receive additional earnings.
The case follows a precedent with actress Scarlett Johansson when, in July 2021, she sued Walt Disney Studios for breach of contract while simultaneously releasing the Marvel Black Widow character film in theaters and on the Disney+ platform.
The actress’s attorneys said the studio broke an agreement that cost their client more than $50 million in damages. Otherwise, the settlement went to actor Dwayne Johnson, who himself received compensation when Disney premiered the film Jungle Cruise in theaters and on its platform.
want to protect themselves
Actors and writers demand that the use of artificial intelligence in the industry be regulated. Today, screenwriters believe they can be replaced by this technology; And moreover, this intelligence is fed by plagiarism.
Actors also want their contracts to be considered and paid for the use of their image on other platforms and, above all, to avoid their work being exploited in other productions through the use of technology, without their physical presence, but digitally.
In the sixth season of Netflix’s Black Mirror series, Salma Hayek appears in a chapter titled “Joan Is Awful”, where she talks about the problems that actors and writers have with signing contracts that allow companies to indiscriminately use their image via AI.
Minutes before Huelga was to be introduced, SAG-AFTRA president, Fran Drescher, best remembered for her popular persona of La Ninera, strongly criticized movie studios and streaming services, as she believed the union was the victim of a “very cynical entity”.
During the press conference in which the start of the fighting was announced after the collapse of the talks, Fran Drescher said: “As they allege poverty, they are rightfully and appallingly losing money while they deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to their directors and executives”.
Drescher assured that the fight was a last resort for the union, but it was the defense of the workers. I agree that this is a historic moment and will be “at risk of being replaced by machines” if the demands are not met.
To illustrate the meaning of this moratorium, the economic losses are small: in 2008, with the screenwriters’ strike, which lasted three months, the industry lost $1,500 million.
It is currently difficult to calculate the economic losses of this practically launched Huelga, but the audiovisual industry in the United States generates 2.4 million workers per year, which translates into $186 million paid through the 122,000 companies involved in this industry.
Resolving this dispute is urgent, the upcoming International Convention of Comics, known as ComicCon, in San Diego, California, from July 20 to 23, may be canceled due to actors’ conflict.
The Emmy Awards ceremony is on September 18, which may also be postponed by Huelga or may even be postponed to next year.
Artificial Intelligence has to be regulated for the film industry and everyone else. This is a technology that is moving at a rapid pace and regulation seems to be too late. There are a few things to consider when considering how to develop this AI and protect the work of humans.
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