Written by 9:42 pm AI, SAG-AFTRA

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The SAG-AFTRA agreement includes some, but not all, of the union’s demands on AI or artificia…

Numerous issues, such as pension and health contributions, website restrictions for self-taped auditions, and funding for historical actors, were successfully addressed by SAG-AFTRA.

Despite these resolutions, there remained a lingering concern regarding the potential misuse of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry.

The coalition feared that studios might exploit AI technology to create a modern-day Frankenstein using real actors’ body parts or to digitally resurrect deceased actors.

As the union prepared to conclude its 118-day strike on Wednesday, these concerns regarding AI manipulation were among the final negotiation points.

While SAG-AFTRA did not secure all the AI restrictions it sought, a significant portion was agreed upon. One key condition was that studios must seek permission from living actors if an AI-generated actor possesses distinct characteristics resembling the real-life actors.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the council’s lead negotiator, emphasized the importance of obtaining consent from actors like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston for the use of their unique features, such as their smiles.

The recent focus on AI technology during the negotiation process has raised concerns about the potential implications for actors’ autonomy and creative control. The provisions related to AI in the new contract were hailed as a significant achievement by Caitlin Dulany, a member of the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee.

The agreements reached by the Writers Guild of America also grappled with the challenges posed by AI, particularly in how it could impact the creative work of actors and writers.

Both organizations expressed concerns about the possible exploitation of their work for AI training, leading to the creation of synthetic performances detached from the artists’ original intent.

While the unions did not secure all-encompassing restrictions on AI training, SAG-AFTRA gained protections against the unauthorized use of actors’ physical attributes in synthetic performances.

Additionally, provisions were made to regulate the use of images of deceased actors and to ensure that estates retain control over the portrayal of deceased stars for a specified period.

The negotiation process highlighted the evolving legal and ethical considerations surrounding AI technology in the entertainment industry, with efforts made to safeguard actors’ rights and creative integrity.

The final terms of the agreement between the coalition and producers, particularly concerning the replication of historical actors and the limitations on AI usage, are expected to be disclosed to the public on Friday.

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Last modified: December 26, 2023
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