The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), following a substantial 148-day strike, have established significant precedents concerning the use of artificial intelligence in Hollywood. The writers' primary concern was ensuring that artificial intelligence systems, like OpenAI's ChatGPT, could not be trained on their work or manipulate it without their consent. Meanwhile, actors aimed to create safeguards around the utilization of technology that could digitally recreate their performances.
Impact of AI Across Various Jobs
The rapid evolution of machine learning has recently posed a risk to numerous professions, from visual arts to software development, potentially leading to mass job displacement. Top executives, such as those at IBM, have projected that thousands of jobs currently performed by humans could soon be automated.
Reports from several firms, including Goldman Sachs, suggest that almost a quarter of a million jobs globally are at risk due to technological advancements. The widespread concern among various occupations served to fuel the momentum of the strikes and enhance public awareness around labor rights in the face of emerging technologies.
Government and Legal Response to AI Development
Governments around the world have taken notice of these developments. In November 2023, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order aiming to limit the impact of AI on the workforce while simultaneously supporting workers facing labor disruptions due to technological advances. The executive order was largely supported by the unions, including SAG, and came shortly before many world leaders convened at the UK's AI Safety Summit. This international meeting focused on the dual objectives of reining in the potential risks of machine learning technologies and tapping into their powerful capabilities for innovation.
The Hollywood strikes not only question the balance between human creativity and AI involvement but also prompt wider discussions on the ethics of AI employment. While some in the entertainment industry have integrated AI tools for tasks like brainstorming, fears persist that the technology could eventually displace human roles entirely. The repercussions of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes will likely influence labor agreements for decades to come, setting critical benchmarks for other industries to reflect upon as they navigate their own futures with artificial intelligence.