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What the End of the Writer Strike Means for AI

Introduction

If you follow any TV or movies at all, then you probably have heard about the writer’s strike that was going on in Hollywood all year. Although the WGA strike recently ended, its sister strike by actors in the industry, is still ongoing.

What did the writer’s strike boil down to? In addition to wanting fair pay and residuals on streaming services, artists in every industry have been calling for some regulations on the use of AI.

Artificial Intelligence and the 2023 Writers Strike

The 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike was the first major labor battle over the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace. The WGA was concerned that AI could be used to replace writers, and that writers would not be compensated for their work that was used to train AI models.

Now, this concern is not new; since the first science fiction movie, humanity has considered the worst that could happen if “technology took over.” In recent years, this has become a somewhat more realistic fear: Ask any musician, painter or novelist and they’ve probably expressed some fear about AI’s ability to take over their craft…especially since ChatGPT became a household name.

At the end of September, WGA and the studios finally reached a deal. That agreement ultimately secured significant guardrails against the use of AI in the new contract, prohibiting…

  1. AI-generated content to create, edit and even contribute to scripts

  2. it from being considered as source material

  3. scripts to incorporate AI without letting the writers know

  4. the training of AI using writers’ creative property

Incidentally, this strike also set a precedent for other industries that are facing similar challenges from AI. Writers must have credit where credit is due, now. The long-fretted question of whether or not technology will replace all of our jobs has received its first answer. What implications does this have on your industry?

What This Means for AI

We cannot deny that artificial intelligence is accepted with open arms by many people, especially younger generations who have grown up with technology (and possibly even become jaded to its dangers) and those in extremely tech-heavy industries (e.g. Silicone Valley). As such, it’s safe to assume that AI isn’t going anywhere soon.

On the other hand, humans are clearly not comfortable with automated bots using their creative works freely. We want our data protected and kept as our own; furthermore, we won’t give up the fight against sentient robots so easily. Sci-fi movies were right about that one thing!

Conclusion

AI is still a developing technology, and it is likely to have a significant impact on the workplace in the years to come. It is important for workers, unions and companies to ALL be prepared to face these changes, and to advocate for the safe use of artificial intelligence while maintaining data privacy and other rights surrounding digital works.

Who knows where the fight to work collaboratively with artificial intelligence and other smart technologies will lead us next?

References

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