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The impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Entertainment Industry

In the immortal words of Oliver Hardy ‘That`s another fine mess you’ve got me into’.

20 Jul 2023

I refer to the ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America, joined by the Directors Guild and now SAG-AFTRA (the Actors union with 160,000 members), which is causing a significant disruption in the sector. The strike has entered its third month and has halted numerous productions, including well-known movies like Beetlejuice 2, Deadpool 3, Gladiator 2, Juror #2, and the second part of Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning. The producers of Wicked were just 10 days from completing the filming of the first of two parts of the production.

The main point of contention is over residuals. Currently, writers and actors do not receive a share from their work when it is streamed repeatedly, despite participating in residuals from mainstream media outlets. This has sparked a widespread belief that the current situation is unfair.

The last premiere that Actors were able to attend was Oppenheimer last Thursday. In order to beat the curfew, the cast turned up at the premiere in Leicester Square, London an hour earlier than scheduled. On the previous day, the Barbie premiere scraped ahead of the deadline. Considering the buckets of money that Warner Bros have invested in its marketing the top table must have been relieved.

Adding to the challenges, there are concerns about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the entertainment industry. Writers and actors fear that AI might supplement their work, with movie producers potentially relying on AI-generated images and scripts. It is rumoured that movie producers might be able to do one day’s filming with an actor and then generate every other image they need of that individual through AI. Likewise, AI could draft a script, perhaps not to the standard of Succession, but it might be able to take on a lot of the heavy lifting.

William Hague observed this week in the Times: ‘Having spent years depicting the far future in fiction, Hollywood is now the harbinger of the immediate future in reality.’

The strike’s effects are evident, and the sector is facing uncertainty. In an industry that was thriving particularly in the UK, this impasse is raising significant concerns and navigating through this unprecedented situation poses a considerable challenge.


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