AI strikes again, impacting the WGA and SAG-AFTRA

Image from The Wrap. Top: A humorous poster about spoiling a popular show, “Succession,” made by writers for the WGA strike.

With the advancements made in artificial intelligence, production companies have begun to use AI to write scripts for shows and movies, as well as manipulate actors’ faces to play roles. This, along with a variety of other reasons, has led to strikes from both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). 

With the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which began on May 2, 2023, and July 14, 2023, respectively, many American TV shows haven’t been able to be renewed, new scripts haven’t been written, actors haven’t been doing their jobs, and marketing for new pieces of media has not been able to occur. Each one of these restrictions leads to everyday people being void of the things which give them joy, such as watching press of their favorite actors and seeing new episodes of their favorite shows. However, is the strike really affecting common people as much as we think? Ethan Donesa, a junior and representative of Washington High School’s Film Club, is able to consider both views which the general public may have on the introduction of AI in the film industry.

Donesa states, “Although some people may protest in favor of their favorite actors and stop watching any shows that may have been produced with AI, temptation always brings viewers back.” If the strike continues for longer, soon viewers may stop caring as much, and what impact will the strikes have then? At the end of the day, there’s a chance that viewers are going to watch whatever entertains them, AI or not. 

However, although the AI-created works may look and sound similar to the work which actors and writers do, according to Donesa, it won’t have the same feeling. With AI-produced work, fans won’t be able to gain the same experience of participating in fan opportunities such as meet and greets, voting for their favorite actors, actresses, and screenwriters for awards, seeing bloopers, and watching what makes these celebrities so relatable and admired. In addition to the lack of humanity AI cinema will have, Donesa says, “There are so many imperfections that remind you that AI created something, and knowing that takes away from the authenticity of filmmaking, or any other art.” Rohan Shah, a Drama student at Washington High School, agrees, saying that, “AI writing of scripts cannot be as emotional or meaningful as a human if they had written it.” 

Overall, Donesa summarizes the use of AI in the film industry by stating how “if we allow AI to continue on the path that it is on, it could lead to the destruction of human culture.” Each person’s perspective on AI in the film industry varies, but what we do know is that everyone will be impacted in some way, and each person must choose what step they want to take: take a stand, as writers and actors have done, or support the work created by artificial intelligence.

Note: As of September 24, 2023, the WGA has reached a deal with Hollywood Studios to end the five-month strike. The SAG-AFTRA strike ended on September 26, 2023 as well.

Anjika Singh is a junior at Washington High School, who has lived in Fremont, California her entire life. This is her first year as a part of The Hatchet, and she is excited to cover a variety of topics from reviews to school news through her articles. In her free time, Anjika enjoys dancing, reading, hanging out with friends, and watching movies and shows. In the future, Anjika hopes to go to college, but is undecided about what her major should be.

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