AI vs Hollywood: Ensuring Ethical Practices and Fair Pay Amid Historic Strikes

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02: People picket outside of FOX Studios on the first day of the Hollywood writers strike on May 2, 2023 in Los Angeles. Scripted TV series, late-night talk shows, film and streaming productions are being interrupted by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. In 2007 and 2008, a WGA strike shut down Hollywood productions for 100 days, costing the local economy between $2 billion and $3 billion.

The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Hollywood is evolving, transforming aspects from script writing to special effects. But as AI becomes more prominent, issues related to fair compensation, job security, and the ethical use of technology take on a new urgency. This was brought to light recently when the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) declared a strike in the wake of failed negotiations with Hollywood studios.


The AI dilemma in Hollywood ???? Here are 4 solutions to balance actors’ rights and innovation since the AI train has basically left the station! What do you think? Let me know ???? #strikes #hollywoodstudios #ai #hollywoodstrike #sagaftra #writersguild

♬ original sound – Shira Lazar

The Clash Over AI and Digital Rights in Hollywood 

The Alliance of Motion Picture of Television Producers (AMPTP) had put forth a “groundbreaking AI proposal” reportedly intended to protect performers’ digital likenesses and require their consent for creating and using digital replicas. However, SAG-AFTRA representatives rejected this, claiming that the proposal would instead allow studios to gain unlimited rights to an actor’s likeness.

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland highlighted concerns over studios’ ability to scan actors, pay them for a single day, but then own and utilize that scan indefinitely without further consent or compensation. This, Crabtree-Ireland argues, is not “groundbreaking,” but a threat to actors’ livelihoods and a gross undervaluation of their contributions.

Transformative Changes in the Entertainment Industry 

The AI proposal, while not the sole reason for the strike, symbolizes the substantial changes that SAG-AFTRA is attempting to address. The industry has seen a rise in studios using technology to de-age, resurrect, and even fully replace actors. It is clear that the ownership of a performer’s likeness is quickly becoming a pivotal issue in these negotiations.

Additionally, the strike bears a historical level of importance.. For the first time since the 1960s, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America members are striking simultaneously, a signal of the urgency and gravity of the situation.

Steps Towards an Ethical AI Future in Hollywood

The entertainment industry must strive for a balance between the exciting potential of AI and the crucial need for equitable treatment of its workforce. Here are some key solutions:


  • 1. Clear Guidelines and Regulations: The industry needs well-defined guidelines and regulations concerning the use of AI. This includes precise definitions of fair use for an actor’s digital likeness and guarantees of fair compensation.
  • 2. Ensuring Transparent and Fair Compensation: Just as with traditional or social media usage, clear best practices must be established around the use of an actor’s digital likeness for specific projects or campaigns. If a company obtains access to an actor’s AI-rendered persona, it is essential for the actor to approve its usage and receive compensation each time it is utilized. 
  • Blockchain technology presents an excellent opportunity for efficient tracking and authentication of these transactions, promising transparency and fairness in actor remuneration.
  • 3. Skills Development and Training: Investment in training programs to help industry professionals adapt to AI technology, securing jobs and fostering new opportunities in the AI space.
  • 4. Collaborative Approach: AI should complement human creativity, not replace it. Filmmakers, actors, and tech professionals need to collaborate to use AI ethically and productively.

As Hollywood moves forward with the integration of AI, the industry must prioritize the fair treatment of its contributors. With the implementation of transparent guidelines, just compensation, skills enhancement, and collaboration, AI can augment the filmmaking process without undermining the value of human talent.

Written with the help of ChatGPT4

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