US actor, producer, and director Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle) spoke out against the use of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry at a SAG-AFTRA rally in New York during the Hollywood actors’ strike.
Cranston called for the preservation of actors’ right to work and dignity and criticized Disney CEO Bob Iger’s earlier dismissal of the strike. The ongoing strike aims to address financial disparities in a rapidly changing industry.
“We don’t expect you to understand who we are. But we ask you to hear us, and beyond that to listen to us when we tell you we will not be having our jobs taken away and given to robots. We will not have you take away our right to work and earn a decent living. And lastly, and most importantly, we will not allow you to take away our dignity.”
The actors’ strike is just another sign that parts of society are pushing back against AI technology as it begins to reshape jobs.
Image-generating models have been met with protests from designers who fear for their jobs, the Authors Guild is threatening to sue Big AI, and there are already several ongoing lawsuits over text and image models trained on copyrighted material.
Publishers in the US are reportedly seeking billions in licensing fees, and there are some anecdotal reports of people who work with text losing clients to ChatGPT.
While Cranston emphasizes the “right to work” and “dignity,” and there is certainly a very relevant moral and ethical note to the use of AI in society and the changing role of human labor, there is also a lot of money at stake.
Of course, jobs will be lost, says OpenAI CEO
Fittingly, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman just reiterated his stance in an interview with The Atlantic. While there is the narrative that jobs will not be lost to AI, only replaced by people using AI, Altman says that of course, jobs will be lost.
“A lot of people working on AI pretend that it’s only going to be good; it’s only going to be a supplement; no one is ever going to be replaced. Jobs are definitely going to go away, full stop.”
Altman has stated this before: “It’s important to be honest,” he said at the launch of OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 image generator.
In fact, his second big bet, Worldcoin, is essentially a hedge against mass unemployment when AI takes over the world, supporting fair and efficient transactions of a universal basic income (UBI) worldwide by reliably identifying people through iris scans. Although, as crypto founder Vitalik Buterin points out in a detailed blog post, the system still has issues such as accessibility and privacy risks.
OpenAI itself published a study on the impact of LLMs using tools such as Internet search or code interpreter and found that large language models will affect at least 10 percent of the work of about 80 percent of U.S. workers. For 19 percent of workers, language models are expected to impact at least 50 percent of tasks.
However, Altman also noted that AI will create a lot of great new jobs. We’ll see how that plays out.