Hollywood Writers Evaluate Actors Guild’s Next Moves in AI Debate – Decrypt

Tensions are rising as the temperature rises on the pickets outside Hollywood studios as members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) continue their three-month strike like the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) discuss the use of artificial intelligence in film and television production.

“I’m very nervous about this,” said WGA and SAG-AFTRA Fellow Gloria Bigalow Decipher outside Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. “We know AI is coming, it’s here, it’s going to be a part of our lives. But we have to use it as a tool, it shouldn’t replace people.”

Bigalow, who writes for the CBS/Paramount series “Bob Hearts Abishola,” says there hasn’t been much activity since negotiations between WGA and the producers stalled in May, leading the writers’ guild to participate in pickets to let hear your own voice directly.

“People want to know their jobs are protected,” Bigalow said. “What [WGA] he’s trying to do is protect us from what’s going to happen in two, five and ten years.”

As AI becomes more prevalent, content creators have used the technology to create AI deepfakes of world leaders and even romantic encounters with their favorite celebrities.

For some, the idea of ​​competing with artificial intelligence is a modern version of the story of John Henry and his legendary battle with a steam drill.

“It would be different if the AI ​​was taught how to write, like the machine is taught how to punch,” said WGA member and captain Jamarcus Turner. “If they taught [AI] how to do that, I’d be fine with that, but what they’re doing is taking our work, dissecting it, and putting it in a machine, a blender, which spits it out.

“Then they’re going to need someone to fix it because it’s from a blender and it doesn’t make sense,” Turner added. “This is stealing my job.”

Turner, who also writes for “Bob Hearts Abishola,” says negotiations could end up reaching a middle ground, but said producers would do their best not to meet the writer’s salary demands.

“The studios will pay us as little as possible, that’s their job,” Turner said. “What they’re doing right now, in a little secret room, is trying to figure out the exact amount they can pay us where we’ll shut up.”

Others on the pickets did not share Turner’s hope for a compromise.

“They don’t want to involve the WGA [AI]… what’s that negotiation like, what’s it like to find a middle ground?” said writer and producer Eric Wallace Decipher. “They won’t even discuss it other than to say we’ll talk about it once or twice a year. That kind of assurance won’t go down with the WGA.”

Wallace, who also served as showrunner on the CW series “The Flash,” said the issue is protecting livelihoods.

“It’s not that AI shouldn’t exist, it already exists, that we can’t stop,” Wallace said. “What we are looking for is regulation that takes into account human beings and human interests.

“I don’t want a computer to take my script, learn from it for free, and get nothing, and then put me out of action,” he added.

The ball, Wallace said, is now in the court of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“The WGA is ready to come back to the negotiating table right now, anytime, and has said that many times today,” Wallace said. “We’re ready to go back. It’s not like you can’t find us, we’re easy to find and they haven’t contacted us at all.”

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