SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher warned about AI misuse in Hollywood. In a podcast, she called AI a “deadly cocktail” and “poison,” posing risks to the industry. The increasing use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) concerns both SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild. Drescher stresses the necessity of strict regulations to safeguard artists’ rights.
AI in Hollywood: A Historical Perspective
AI has been a part of Hollywood for many years, primarily as computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films and TV shows. However, with the emergence of GAI, concerns have arisen regarding its impact on the entertainment industry. GAI’s ability to create deep fakes—computer-generated faces and voices of real actors on someone else’s body—has raised ethical and legal issues, especially when used for pornographic purposes.
The Need for Strict Regulation
Drescher believes that a combination of Wall Street interests, technological advancements, and a lack of empathy can lead to serious consequences. To prevent the misuse of AI, she calls for strict regulation and emphasizes the importance of communication with artists, obtaining consent, and fair compensation. The guild’s national executive director, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, supports these proposals, stating that members’ careers are at risk due to unrestrained AI usage.
Challenges Faced by the Entertainment Industry
Studio CEOs’ reluctance to adopt employee-friendly policies and resistance to fair regulations exacerbate challenges faced by SAG-AFTRA. Fran Drescher criticizes them, labeling them as “megalomaniacs” oblivious to actors’ needs. Drescher advocates for bold leaders who promote inclusivity and a supportive industry culture.
Striving for a Bigger Share of the Streaming Pie
SAG-AFTRA’s primary objective is obtaining a larger share of streaming revenues for its members. To achieve this, they aim to participate in the revenue generated by their performances on streaming platforms. The guild advocates a subscription-based residuals formula, enabling actors to benefit from the platforms’ success. Drescher emphasizes the importance of accessing a portion of every subscription fee, considering the dynamic nature of the entertainment industry.
The Impact of Strikes on Industry Culture
Drescher hopes that the ongoing strikes will bring about a positive transformation in the entertainment industry. By demanding fair treatment and compensation, she envisions a shift towards a more employee-friendly culture. The goal is to position SAG-AFTRA at the heart of the industry, serving as the central entity that leverages the artistry of its members.
As AI technology continues to advance, the entertainment industry faces new challenges and ethical dilemmas. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher’s call for strict regulation is a vital step in safeguarding artists’ rights and ensuring fair compensation for their work. By navigating the complexities of AI with empathy and understanding, Hollywood can pave the way for a more inclusive and sustainable future for all its stakeholders.