Hollywood Studios Propose To Replace Background Actors With AI
The ethical concerns with the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) is heating up in the moviemaking business.
In a press conference today, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American labour union representing over 160,000 performers and artists, announced it'll hold a strike after failing to reach an agreement with Hollywood studio heads on certain demands. Among the major points of contention is the supposed proposal of some studios to use AI to replace actors to save on wages.
"This ‘groundbreaking’ AI proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation," said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the Chief Negotiator of SAG. "So if you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again."
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) slammed SAG's decision to hold a strike, describing it as "a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry". It also said it would take steps to protect the digital likeness of actors, which involves asking for their consent when digital replicas are used in performances.
The SAG strike is commencing on Friday, with actors expected to join the picket line until their demands are met. Some of Hollywood's top actors would not be able to promote new and upcoming releases as part of the strike. They would also be joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who has been on strike over similar reasons, including the regulation of AI use in the industry.
Other demands of the SAG and WGA strike include residual payments and fair wages, among other benefits.
"If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble, we are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines," said SAG President Fran Drescher.
The Screen Actors Guild announced it'll hold a strike after failing to reach an agreement with Hollywood studio heads over certain issues, including the use of AI to replace actors.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the Chief Negotiator of SAG, said the studios' proposal involves scanning the image and likeness of background actors for a day's pay and being able to use that scan for future projects with no further compensation.
SAG would be joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who has been on strike over similar reasons, including the regulation of AI use in the industry.