The emergence of generative artificial intelligence has frightened Hollywood actors and screenwriters. They fear the technology could be used to produce fake films and trailers, jeopardizing their rights and interests. They are pressing for safeguards as the discussions approach.
Trailers for major films such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings have been created using AI, with stars including Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. However, controversy has arisen over the use of AI by people with minimal resources, resulting in fake movie trailers. On June 7, SAG-AFTRA will begin collective bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Disney, Netflix and others, to address the issue.
Until now, the screenwriting industry has been divided on AI. Screenwriters for film and television have urged precautions against the use of emerging AI technologies in scriptwriting. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, wants members to have authority over the use of their “digital doubles” and to be paid fairly by studios. He argues that performers’ names, likenesses, voices and characteristics are their capital and should be recognized as such.
AI algorithms have been used to create realistic films, including deepfake videos starring Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Cruise. The illegal sharing of these films raises issues of permission and privacy. Regulators in the US and Europe are looking for limits to avoid disinformation, bias, copyright infringement and privacy issues.
While AI has the potential to reduce costs and provide fresh material in the film business, performers and screenwriters are wary. Some performers have already agreed to certain uses of AI technology, such as recreating their youthful looks from previous films. The extent to which AI is used in actors’ roles will be determined through negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP, with informed consent being a fundamental element.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has already gone on strike in response to the AI and pay issues, underlining the seriousness of the situation. If a deal is not reached, performers may go on strike, putting further pressure on the studios. Both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are calling for safeguards to be put in place before AI is widely used in the film industry.
The future of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry is unknown, and stakeholders are trying to strike a balance that preserves the rights of performers and screenwriters while exploring the potential benefits of AI technology.