Hollywood pitched AI actors fed on ‘100 years’ of movies to replace humans

Hollywood pitched AI actors fed on ‘100 years’ of movies to replace humans

Hollywood pitched AI actors fed on ‘100 years’ of movies to replace humans

If you thought Hollywood couldn’t go any lower, think again. Amidst the ongoing SAG-AGTRA strike, it’s been revealed that numerous movie studio executives proposed creating AI actors so they would no longer have to pay human workers.

Over 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members are currently on strike alongside the Writers Guild of America. Major actors such as Margot Robbie Tom Cruise, Ryan Reynolds and thousands more are stopping filming and movie promotions to protest movie studios and streaming services’ handling of pay and working conditions.

One of the major causes of the two ongoing strikes is the introduction of artificial intelligence in the movie industry. While AI has been used in the form of deepfakes for young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars’ The Mandalorian and Darth Vader’s voice in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Hollywood has proposed far more unethical uses of AI.

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland revealed that numerous movie studios have pitched a “groundbreaking AI proposal” that would replace actors with AI generated CG humans for a fraction of the cost, relying on non-unionised VFX companies to produce their performances.

Crabtree-Ireland revealed that Hollywood studios proposed “scanning an actor” for just one day of pay and then using that scan for as long as they want.

“[Studios would] own that scan of their image, their likeness, and to be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation,” he revealed.

AI actors were said to replace background actors who fill out scenes such as streets or busy restaurants. Background extras are typically paid for hours of work to make sets feel alive, and the craft is typically many actors’ pathway into the industry.

Hollywood seeks to destroy this aspect of acting, buying the likeness of thousands of actors for cheap and using them wherever and whenever they like. This has already been used for advertisements and the like with AI faces and voices being generated from the likenesses of real human beings that will never be paid for their uses again.

There’s been a lot of conversation about consent on set — AI is just another way to get around consent from actors, particularly actors assigned female at birth,” a background actor told the Rolling Stone. “If for some reason they use my face and they put me in a situation that I did not consent to, that is very troubling.”

Furthermore, with background acting offering hundreds of actors their way into the industry, Hollywood seeks to cut costs while increasing its long-criticised nature of nepotism. With normal people unable to break into the film industry, only relatives of existing actors and executives will be able to make themselves known.

Replacing background actors with AI generated humans would also cut down on other aspects of movie making, such as hair and makeup and more. Every aspect of the movie-making process would be completely changed by this move.

With AI regulation still being barely touched by governments, it’s up to deals with SAG-AGTRA, the WGA, and movie studios to limit the use of artificial intelligence to protect jobs. With record profits being given to CEOs and executives instead of the lowest paid writers, actors, set designers and more, there’s no reason why studios should be replacing human workers.

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