Regarding the AI provisions in the pending SAG-AFTRA contract, actress-writer-filmmaker Justine Bateman said union members should only approve the deal “if they don’t want to work anymore.” She is, of course, entitled to her opinion… but history tells a different story.
The film industry’s journey from tech skepticism to acceptance is marked by several pivotal moments; resisting the transition from silent films to talkies, Harry Morris Warner (co-founder of Warner Brothers) said, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” This was followed by the hesitant embrace of television, which blossomed into a vital medium for storytelling and profit, and was later echoed in the initial fight against VHS technology, which ushered in extraordinary profits for the industry. Ms. Bateman’s admonition (however well-meaning) ignores the recurring theme of technological adaptation being a catalyst for growth and revitalization in the entertainment sector.
Is AI transformational? Of course. It has been transforming our world in dramatic ways for the past 25 years or so; it’s just been behind the scenes. Everything Justine Bateman fears is possible, but the future rarely unfolds the way we think it will.
No matter how much anyone fears AI, it is here to stay. It is improving at an exponential pace, there is no effective way to regulate it, and there is no way to slow its progress. You may disagree, but even if you do, the wisest path forward is to embrace the tech, get really good at it, and profit from your new skills.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it. This work was created with the assistance of various generative AI models.