SAG-AFTRA Officials Criticize Hollywood Studios’ AI Idea During Actors Strike

Leaders of the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, have criticized Hollywood companies for putting forward an AI plan that would let them replace background actors with digital copies of them forever for the price of one day’s pay.

After the actors’ strike started, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which is made up of big Hollywood studios and streaming services, put out a statement in which they talked about their “groundbreaking AI proposal.”

Forbes says that the studios’ trade group said the plan was meant to protect performers’ “digital likenesses” and needed the actors’ permission to make and use digital copies or changes of their performances.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who is in charge of negotiations for SAG-AFTRA, said that the studios’ plan was for background actors to get one day’s pay in exchange for having their faces scanned.

Crabtree-Ireland stressed that the studios would then have full ownership of the scan, the players’ images, and their likenesses, and could use them in any future project without permission or payment.

When it started its strike in May, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) had already raised similar worries about the use of AI. The guild suggested rules about how AI could be used, such as a ban on literary work that was created or rewritten by AI, a ban on using AI to create source material for writers, and a ban on AI tools being trained on work written by guild writers. The AMPTP turned down this idea and instead offered to meet once a year to talk about new technologies.

Since the SAG-AFTRA strike started at midnight on Thursday and the WGA strike is still going on, no more movies or TV shows are being made. This is the longest work slowdown in Hollywood in over sixty years, due to two strikes at the same time.