Generative AI is a type of Artificial Intelligence technology that has the capacity to almost instantly produce text, images, audio, and video.
Understandably, the entertainment community is in an uproar over the prospect of AI wiping out a huge chunk of the longstanding industry.
While a segment of Hollywood is actually enthused about the idea that AI might free creators from some of the typically tiresome tasks and also help to avoid the hefty price tag frequently accompanying big budget projects, others are scared to pieces.
It's fairly easy to convince a portion of the entertainment community that AI is an overall plus. Use of the technology has become common practice within the biz.
The late Carrie Fisher was digitally cast via AI (with permission from her daughter) in the film "The Rise of Skywalker."
In another instance, in order to make it seem as if 80-year-old actor Harrison Ford were still in his thirties, Disney-owned Lucasfilm used images of Ford's face, taken from the "Indiana Jones" films of the 1980s, and blended them into the fifth Indiana Jones film, "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny."
During an interview with late-night host Stephen Colbert in which he talked about his AI-restored on-screen image, Ford said, "It's fantastic."
Actor James Earl Jones, who is now 92 years old, authorized an AI version of his famous voice, which he had supplied for the Darth Vader character in the "Star Wars" franchise series, so that the character could continue on.
Reportedly, a digital version of the late actor Christopher Reeve will be included in a cameo appearance in the upcoming movie "The Flash."
AI technology is routinely being used to alter mouth movements, so as to more accurately sync words in dubbed films of a different language. It is also regularly being used to create cinematic music and soundscapes.
Paul Schrader, screenwriter of "Taxi Driver" and director of "American Gigolo," did a Facebook post about something that he called a "dirty little secret composers know."
"AI is already scoring filmed entertainment and has been for some time," Schrader wrote.
Lately the actors and writers unions have been forced to confront the dark side of AI, and they don’t like what they see coming.
Generative AI is one of the main reasons the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike for weeks and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), of which this author is a member, has been threatening to strike as well.
Both unions are seeking to limit the use of AI in the industry.
Digital doppelgangers in fake movie trailers have been popping up, making entertainment content without the assistance of Hollywood creatives.
AI-generated trailers, which have appeared on the internet for what seems to be director Wes Anderson's films, typically include well known actors such as Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
The trailers implement Anderson's characteristic style, and they feature fake adaptations of popular franchises such as "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," and "The Lord of the Rings."
A video of Ryan Reynolds selling Teslas was recently shared on Twitter but has since been removed. Reynolds's production company responded with another AI-generated video, with Twitter owner Elon Musk endorsing gin made by a Reynolds-owned company.
This video has also been removed.
A-listers, including Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves, have actually been the victims of unauthorized AI-generated deep fake videos.
Then there’s the world of voice actors, which has also been shaken in a major way. So-called voice cloning is easily conjured up by AI technology.
The reality is AI technology is capable of improving itself. The phenomenon is known as "emergence." In the not-too-distant future, entertainment content will be created by simply giving prompts to AI technology without actors, writers, directors, or cameras having to be involved.
This means that an individual with minimal resources but with access to AI can create professional looking videos that feature famous actors and characters, minus their personal consent or involvement.
Actors already have a degree of legal protection, through existing prohibitions, from unauthorized use of their names, images, and/or likenesses.
However, things start getting really murky when it comes to AI technology's training data.
The rights of the previous performances of individual actors being used for the purposes of AI training will likely be an issue in union negotiations.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA's chief negotiator, has spoken out about maintaining control over the AI-created lookalikes of actors and the issue of fairness when it comes to using personas.
"The performer's name, likeness, voice, persona — those are the performer's stock and trade," Crabtree-Ireland said. "It's really not fair for companies to attempt to take advantage of that and not fairly compensate performers when they're using their persona in that way.”
Writers in turn possess intellectual property rights to their works. But under the present law they will have a difficult burden to prove.
In order to protect their rights in court, they must prove that the AI work is either a reproduction of their own work or a derivative of it.
In the real world, AI will likely be trained with a multitude of scripts, making this burden of proof all but impossible.
In Schrader's opinion, "The WGA position on AI is a fascinating conundrum. The guild doesn’t fear AI as much as it fears not getting paid."
Notwithstanding the dangers that the technology poses, the director predicts that AI "will become a force in film entertainment."
Both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA want reasonable safeguards before AI capabilities proliferate within the industry.
"Family Ties" actress, computer science graduate, and former SAG board member Justine Bateman is unequivocally against the use of AI tech for entertainment content.
"I think AI has no place in Hollywood at all. To me, tech should solve problems that humans have," Bateman said, adding that its use will "have an incredibly bad effect — disastrous effect on the entertainment business."
The actress views the use of AI as a backward looking "automatic imitation" through which creativity will be stifled.
"What's the next genre in film? What's the next genre in music?
You're never going to see anything like that if we're all using AI," Bateman said.
She stated that she didn’t "want to live in that world," echoing the sentiments of many actors, writers, directors, and musicians.
FYI: The above written article was created by means of the author’s un-Artificial Intelligence.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read James Hirsen's Reports — More Here.
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