Why The Hollywood Strike Matters

What’s happening: Over 100,000 working writers and actors in Hollywood have been on strike against artificial intelligence and a shift toward streaming services that could upend the industry. Studio heads are exploring the use of AI for a variety of tasks, from writing screenplays to animation and visual effects to performance capture to even the replacement of actors.

Why it’s happening: Hollywood is struggling with low box-office numbers and high costs for streaming content. CEOs of major studios like Disney and Warner Bros. are looking to cut costs by using AI to avoid paying human artists, actors, and creators. Consequently, Hollywood is seeing one of the first waves of man-machine replacement.

Why it matters: This strike over repercussions of artificial intelligence could foreshadow fights for workers in other industries, such as truck drivers and lawyers. “We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines,” actor and union president Fran Drescher told reporters. “What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor.” The outcome of these strikes could set a precedent.

  • Saving creativity: In what could become a landmark case, comedian Sarah Silverman and two prominent authors are suing Meta and the creator of ChatGPT for alleged copyright infringement. They allege that using their books to train AI language systems without consent or compensation is unlawful.

A historic moment: This is the first simultaneous strike between the writers guild and actors guild in over 60 years. While the strike lasts, film and television production will be on hold across the industry — some analysts believe well into the fall or longer.

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