Editorial: These Strikes Are Meant to Protect Human Creativity
By October 11, 2023 0 438•
Are you wondering where new seasons of your favorite TV shows are? Have you noticed reality TV has reigned supreme post-Labor Day?
In case you missed it, the Writers Guild of America (which represents nearly 12,000 screenwriters) went on strike after a labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. In early July, the writers’ strike ended up coinciding with a SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike, essentially shutting Hollywood down. The strikes mark the biggest interruption to film and TV production in decades.
But they’ve made an impact, pushing back high-profile events like the 75th Emmy Awards (which are now set for January). Screenwriters have since made a deal, but actors are still hashing things out. If you’re wondering what negotiations are about, a few topics are worth mentioning.
First, actors (and writers) were discussing getting properly paid for reruns of shows and shows that appear on streaming services. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also been a concern, as many have expressed concerns about who owns an actor’s likeness if it’s copied and distributed by AI. The same goes for screenwriters — many were concerned about the speed of the fast-developing technology.
Per the writers’ agreement, they were given better residual payments. Now AI cannot be used to write or rewrite scripts, and AI-generated writing cannot be considered source material. With this stipulation, writers won’t lose out on writing credits due to AI.
While the actors’ strike is ongoing, it’s important to note that AI is also a point of contention in journalism. Yes, AI tools can help journalists research a topic quickly, however, many applications out today produce information that’s incorrect, outdated and stilted in narration. The same goes for actors and writers. Soon, it may be too difficult to decipher what is indeed factual versus AI-generated or “hallucinated.”
As for our readers, we know sometimes you’ll agree with us and sometimes you won’t. The truth is, AI can’t replace the human passion in a letter-to-the-editor, or perhaps an intriguing conversation between a reporter and their subject. The actors’ and writers’ strikes are based deeply in protecting human creativity, and we wish the best for them as we all continue to navigate this brave new world.