After months of negotiations, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studios have reached a historic agreement, bringing an end to the writers strike. This breakthrough resolution not only addresses important issues such as better residual payments and minimum staffing, but also sets limitations on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the writers’ rooms.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has reached an agreement with Hollywood studios, ending the writers strike. The new contract establishes limitations on the use of AI in the writers’ rooms, ensuring that AI cannot be used to write or rewrite scripts, and AI-generated writing will not be considered source material.
The Role of AI in the Strike
The writers strike drew attention to the concerns surrounding the use of AI in the creative process. Writers feared that studios would exploit AI tools to undermine their working conditions and avoid paying union members. While text-based generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, have limitations in terms of creativity, their potential development raised apprehensions among writers.
Comedy writer Adam Conover shared his worries: “I’m not worried about the technology. I’m worried about the companies using technology, that is not in fact very good, to undermine our working conditions.”
The New Terms in the Contract
The WGA’s new contract includes explicit provisions concerning the use of AI. According to the agreement, AI cannot be used to write or rewrite scripts, and any AI-generated writing cannot be considered as source material. This ensures that writers will not lose out on writing credits due to AI-generated content.
While individual writers have the freedom to choose whether to use AI tools, the contract prohibits companies from mandating specific AI tools. Furthermore, studios are required to inform writers if any AI-generated materials are given for incorporation into a work.
The WGA also reserves the right to assert that the exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by the contract or other applicable laws. This establishes a clear stance against the unauthorized use of writers’ work for AI training purposes.
The Impact on the Video Game Industry
While the resolution of the writers strike is a significant accomplishment, the actors union, SAG-AFTRA, remains on strike. Recently, SAG-AFTRA members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike against the video game industry as well. Similar concerns about the possible use of AI to undermine union members’ creative work have been raised.
SAG-AFTRA is specifically fighting for the rights of stunt performers, motion capture artists, and voice actors in the video game sector. The union is aware of the growing trend where companies are eager to scan members or train AI with their voices, potentially jeopardizing their future job opportunities.
While the outcome of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations is yet to be determined, the WGA’s agreement serves as a precedent in addressing concerns related to AI’s role in the creative professions. By setting clear limitations, the industry is taking a proactive approach to protect the rights of its members and maintain the integrity of the creative process.