Written by 11:07 pm AI, Discussions, Uncategorized

– Understanding the SAG-AFTRA Board’s Decision: Why Intelligence Should Not Factor In

Two SAG-AFTRA board members explained why they voted against the contract, which includes provision…

The latest agreement, as reported by two members of the SAG-AFTRA panel, offers limited protection for actors against arbitrary intelligence.

The 118-day standoff concluded when the negotiating council unanimously approved the deal last Wednesday. The national board, with 86% of the vote in favor, sent the agreement for ratification on Friday.

Among the eight dissenters on the 80-member committee were Shaan Sharma and Anne Marie Johnson. Despite their reservations, both highlighted the significance of artificial intelligence (AI) in their critiques.

Johnson argued that AI should not have a place in our industry, emphasizing the importance of human involvement in creative production. She expressed concern that all efforts would be futile if AI continued to encroach on the industry.

Sharma, who also served on the negotiating committee, raised concerns about the “significant flaws” in AI technology that posed existential risks to various sectors of their work.

SAG-AFTRA released an 18-page summary of the contract on Sunday. The agreement outlines guidelines for the utilization of AI in creating “digital doubles,” but falls short of prohibiting AI or preventing studios from creating synthetic performers based on real actors’ achievements.

In cases where an AI-generated character bears a distinct facial resemblance to a known actor and uses that actor’s name, the producer must seek the actor’s consent.

However, Sharma expressed doubts about the adequacy of this restriction, stating that it does not offer substantial protection if the replica fails to clearly indicate the original actor.

During a 3 12-hour Zoom meeting for SAG-AFTRA members, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and Fran Drescher defended the AI provisions of the contract. Crabtree-Ireland acknowledged that the agreement is not flawless and assured members of ongoing efforts to secure additional safeguards in future negotiations.

Crabtree-Ireland emphasized the need to navigate the evolving landscape of technological advancements carefully, acknowledging the challenges in halting the progress of AI systems.

The union is actively engaging with policymakers and regulatory bodies to shape public opinion on AI-related issues. A second technical briefing is scheduled for Thursday at the Hollywood Palladium.

Drescher addressed critics during the Zoom meeting, urging members to approach the information with an open mind and heart. While not directly mentioned, Justine Bateman, a former SAG board member, has raised concerns about the potential risks associated with AI in the industry.

In an interview, Bateman underscored the importance of raising awareness about the implications of AI technology and encouraged actors to seek advice from their representatives for stronger AI protections.

Dec. 5 marks the deadline for ratification votes. If approved, the agreement will stand, but if rejected, negotiations may resume. The clause requiring studios to obtain consent from an actor’s estate before using AI to recreate performances was a notable inclusion in the agreement.

Johnson expressed dissatisfaction with the streaming residual structure, advocating for a share of profits instead. The uncertainty surrounding viewership data and profit-sharing arrangements with platforms like Netflix raised concerns among members.

As the ratification process unfolds, members are urged to consider the implications of AI technology on their craft and industry. The union remains committed to advocating for the interests of its members in the rapidly evolving landscape of entertainment technology.

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Last modified: February 26, 2024
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