The Writers' Guild of America demands safeguards against studios using AI and writers' content to undermine their livelihoods.
As AI technology continues to advance, Hollywood writers are growing increasingly concerned about its potential impact on their industry. The Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) is currently on strike, demanding better working conditions and protection against AI exploitation, as they seek assurances that studios won't use AI-generated content to replace their work.
On March 7, 2023, WGA members overwhelmingly approved the 2023 Pattern of Demands, leading to a strike that shut down Hollywood for the first time since 2007. The WGA seeks significant increases in minimum compensation and standardized pay rates for writing across different platforms, among other demands. They also want to prevent studios from using AI-generated content to replace WGA writers' work.
WGA member C. Robert Cargill, who wrote Sinister, Doctor Strange, and The Black Phone, emphasized that the issue isn't with the AI technology itself but with how studios might exploit it. The WGA's concern is that studios could use AI-generated content to cut out the lucrative first step of script and story idea generation, lowering writers' pay rates.
The guild also fears that their existing written content could be used to train future AI iterations, effectively recycling their dialogue and jokes without attribution, credit, or compensation. Cargill clarified that the WGA isn't seeking a full ban on AI use, but rather assurances that studios won't use it to replace writers and pay them lower rates for essentially the same work.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) responded, acknowledging the creative and legal challenges posed by AI, as well as the need for more discussions on the matter. They also noted that the current WGA Agreement already defines a "writer" as a "person," excluding "corporate or impersonal purveyor" of literary material, thereby disqualifying AI-generated material for writing credits.