Disney, Netflix aggressively hiring AI Content Scabs amid writer/actor strike

Originally published at: Disney, Netflix aggressively hiring AI Content Scabs amid writer/actor strike | Boing Boing


I suspect that they’re about to fuck around and found out…


I think using AI as a tool is perfectly fine, but if these idiots seriously think that AI can replace human writers, they’re delusional. Human voice is what makes art valuable. I refuse to watch movies written by ChatGPT.


Someone needs to take an axe to Netflix’s quantum computer yesterday.


The solidarity between the unions is only growing. Actors should refuse to appear in projects written by AIs, and writers should refuse to create content featuring AIs with speaking parts (or scanned extras who don’t get paid for every use of their AI images).


It appears to me that Netflix and Disney likely have their lawyers working overtime in the background in order to construct the argument that the non-human AI is the writer of the content. Machines are not people and therefore are not bound by the restrictions of the contract. The Product Manager-Machine Learning Platform employee is nothing more than an overseeing manager of the AI machine providing basic direction to the AI and then pressing the Enter key - nothing more than a keyboard operator.
Somewhat tangentially related to the macaque selfie copyright issue in which the photos were deemed not to be copyrightable by the macaque. i.e. the AI cannot be held responsible as a scab, and the Product Manager-Machine Learning Platform employee also cannot be a scab because they input some basic data and hit Enter.
Oh, and the content produced will be crap.


I have bad news for them. The BEST script created by algorithmic chatbots will still be far worse than the most mediocre network television shows. But some lucky individual is about to get paid to produce dreck and dross for a while, so lucky them.


Problem: People are tired of sequels, reboots, rehashes and remakes.

Solution: Get rid of all the writers and replace them with a mindless program that’s only capable of taking already-existing material and smashing it together in new configurations.

Genius, truly. This can only end well for them.


Huh, there are so many options as to what this actually means for Netflix. There are tons of legit tools labeled “AI” that are just fancier versions of existing tools (just with some of the workflow automated), but given the high level of the position, it’s clearly not about that. Netflix has a game division, where generative AI means something different, but that’s another position. Rather than using AI to generate scripts and replace actors, I suspect this is an evolution of their metrics/data mining for recommendations.

Little hints suggest they’re taking their recommendation system up a notch and using “AI” to identify the specific elements in programs that appeal to viewers so they can make more stuff that has those elements in it. (Producing, presumably, a laundry list of elements they’ll insist a new show must have in order to be greenlit.) Which is almost as bad as GPT-generated scripts and AI actors. I don’t think it’ll work very well, and they don’t need AI for this - instead they could just bloody well make good shows and then not cancel them after six episodes. But noooo, they have to pay someone a substantial fraction of a million dollars a year to (eventually) figure that out.


Despite the recent garbage excreted out of Disney and Marvel - this will end badly as others have noted. The recent Black Mirror episode was brilliant in looking at this.

As far as digital actors go - a few of you may remember this gem from over 20yrs ago which I think was the first dip of the toe into the concept.

At the time - the Uncanny Valley Effect affected how the film was received - you could view it as an astounding leap in animation, or a failed attempt at replicating live action.

But - we’ve come a long way since then and the idea of replacing live actors with digital models isn’t going away - to the general sadness of anyone in the performing arts.


I totally agree that studios are evil turds. But I’ve seen this in too many places:
“…only about 12% of SAG-AFTRA members earn the $26,470 annual minimum required to qualify for the union’s health insurance plan.”

That fact does not necessarily mean that studios pay actors too little (although they do). It could easily mean that actors get paid $300/hour but the majority of actors get only a few days of work a year.

Other facts make a stronger argument. This one should get left off, because it triggers skepticism in numerate people.

Exactly like the fact from a coupla weeks ago that graphic designers in Portland have an income average of $20/hour.

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I’ve done community theatre with (unpaid) actors who were using a pseudonym, because they’d had to “go pro” for a prior job at somewhere like Disneyland. Now they weren’t even trying to make a living at acting, but union membership forbade them from acting for free. So they had to act under a different name.


Soon enough the studios pipeline will dry up without more input from creators. I’ll personally be cancelling most of my subs for that reason, Netflix included. Ive purchased and intend on rewatching my old favs like xfiles. There are more than a few great shows that had long runs that’ll keep me entertained for quite a while.

What we call AI right now is garbage designed to get investors to hand over their cash. Eventually the bubble will burst and everyone will realize current AI is snake oil and not a general purpose “makes everything better” tool.

We may even see backlash where smaller companies offer guarantees that humans wrote the stories, created the art etc etc without AI as an offering for people who don’t want AI trash in their lives. I believe that actually includes most people.


It matters because that’s changed more recently, thanks in part to streaming. Yes, there have always been working actors making below the minimum, but it didn’t tend to be actors who had steady jobs on TV shows, and had a bit a name-recognition, for being on a highly successful show. The fact that people are pointing that out because the percentage of working actors making below the minimum for insurance has grown thanks to streaming.


I was tickled when the production crew revealed that, for the cost of hair systems, they could have hired Sandra Bullock multiple times over.

When “working for exposure” means making enough to sleep rough in an alley near the studio. :angry:


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