Artificial intelligence (AI) brings yet another industry into a hot debate over its usage as Hollywood and the greater media industry faces petitions from the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
WGA recently sent out a list of demands which included the regulation of AI usage on the minimum basic agreement (MBA) covered projects. It stated that AI should not be used to write or rewrite literary material nor be used as source material.
Additionally, it demanded that MBA-covered material can’t be used in training AI. In its initial statement back in March, the guild wrote:
“The WGA’s proposal to regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies ensures the Companies can’t use AI to undermine writers’ working standards including compensation, residuals, separated rights and credits.”
However, Hollywood studios officially rejected the demands and countered with an offer of “annual meetings to discuss advancements in technology.”
This issue pertaining to AI usage was one of many, including compensation and working conditions, that pushed the WGA to go on an authorized strike in Los Angeles on May 2 for the first time in 15 years.
Scabby won’t let AI write, or rewrite, their script. #WGAStrike #1u https://t.co/nTebf308YV
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) May 3, 2023
Ellen Stutzman, the chief negotiator for the WGA, called the proposal “reasonable” and said that AI should be kept “out of the business of writing television and movies.” She also commented that some members of the guild had penned the name “plagiarism machine” for AI.
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AI tools are already being implemented in Hollywood for touching up visuals and de-aging actors’ appearances, among other things.
Hollywood production studios’ stance of openness to emerging technologies such as AI differs from the stance of major companies in other creative industries like the music industry.
The initial response of Universal Music Group after AI-generated music started popping up on streaming services was a manhunt to get them removed, along with lawsuits. Though some artists themselves with established names in the industry are encouraging the usage of the technology.
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