The recent deal between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has raised important questions about the future of AI in the entertainment industry. The agreement outlines that AI-generated scripts will be covered by the collective bargaining agreements, providing writers with leverage when negotiating with studios. However, concerns remain regarding the enforcement of this agreement, as it may be challenging to prevent AI companies, regardless of their location, from scraping writers’ work without permission.
Additionally, there are uncertainties about the responsibility of revealing AI contributions to scripts. Studios could argue that they were unaware of AI-generated components when passing a script from one writer to another for rewrites. This presents challenges in determining burden of proof and the feasibility of enforcement. Nonetheless, the deal suggests a future where humans and machines collaborate, leaving room for experimentation and creativity with AI-generated content.
Beyond Hollywood, this agreement sets a precedent for workers in various industries, highlighting the importance of fighting for control in the face of disruptive technologies. As talks between AMPTP and the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, are expected to resume, the WGA’s contract may serve as a guiding example. The impact of this deal on SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations is significant, especially considering the concerns actors have regarding synthetic “actors” created from their past performances.
Overall, the WGA deal has positioned the union at the forefront of AI discussions within the labor movement. Economist Simon Johnson emphasizes that workers cannot wait until organizations deploy AI technologies, as they risk being replaced. The agreement suggests that AI can be controlled and used by workers, but it also underscores the need to limit employers’ discretion. In this regard, writers are in a relatively strong position compared to other American workers, inspiring other unions to take note and consider similar negotiations.