The Hollywood strike rages on with AI at the center of the debate.
Union members want to keep AI from eating the jobs of screenwriters and C-list actors. The studios want to leverage technology to create a superior product more efficiently.
Yet it doesn’t matter what either labor or capital wants. The key question, famously asked by Kevin Kelly, is what does technology itself want? Just as water always finds its level, so will AI.
The exponential acceleration of AI (in sophistication and scale) won’t wait for negotiations or adhere to any future agreements. One way or another Generative AI will soon be ubiquitous in Hollywood. Why? Because massively powerful tools will be fully distributed in the hands of individuals. It can’t, and won’t, be controlled.
Put it this way: Consider the union wins and AI is formally kept out of the screenwriting process. What do we think everyscreenwriter will do on their next project? Yes, leverage ChatGPT to the hilt. Try out ideas, test different versions of dialog, edit, summarize, expand and contract dialogue. A script that is “theirs” may well be 80%+ the creation of AI.
Additionally, there are two enormous considerations missing in the Hollywood debate: 1.) What does the customer want, and 2.) How much will AI disintermediate? Consider the recent AI-generated song (entitled “Heart on My Sleeve”) made to sound like a collaborative effort between Drake and The Weeknd. It garnered 15+ million downloads and broad customer acclaim before being de-platformed. Yes, people liked it. And it completely disintermediated the current creative process.
Never forget Hollywood itself was created by a job-destroying platform technology, in the form of the Lumiere brothers’ Cinematographe. Customers strongly preferred machine-generated entertainment and thousands of vaudeville theaters soon disappeared. Are we about to face a similar moment?
Rethinking all knowledge industries: This is why this fight is so important, for every knowledge industry that will face similar disruption. Think Consulting, Software, Financial Services, Advertising, Pharmaceuticals, etc. When AI makes a knowledge worker 5X more productive how do those associated revenues and margins get allocated? It will be the negotiation of a generation.
What does this mean for you? As a knowledge worker, you only have one choice: leverage AI as quickly as you can. Know what is state of the art, what AI tools best apply to your role, plug them into your workflow, and master them quickly.
Your default position should be “enhancement.” That is, what can be achieved with you + the machine? How can Generative AI make you the best you can be?
We see an admission of this point in the Hollywood strikes today. That is, strikers are seemingly dismissive of AI (stating “It doesn’t have the human touch of true creativity and empathy” or “AI really stands for ‘Automatic Imitation’”) but then argue it’s so powerful that it will replace them.
It’s really a bit of both. It will certainly replace parts of the creative process. But it will then enhance good writers to become super-writers, the most creative and productive versions of themselves. Better art in higher volume.
Who wouldn’t want that?
So, knowledge workers of the world don’t view the Hollywood strikes from afar. Take lessons from it and move as quickly as you can to adopting AI tools that will catalyze your capabilities.
How do you find the right tools for you? This is why we’ve created the TalentGenius Toolbox, a repository of hundreds of AI tools and platforms for knowledge workers. For your role, know what’s available, what your peers think about specific tools, and never be left behind by AI. Check it out, and let us know what you think.
And just remember: the show will go on.