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Hollywood’s Alternative for Writers Amid WGA Strike is Dead on Arrival

Hollywood’s Alternative for Writers Amid WGA Strike is Dead on Arrival

James Schamus, who is a writer, producer, director and professor of film at Columbia University, said that Hollywood’s alternative for writers amid the WGA strike will yield no success, adding that their plan to replace human writers with generative AI is dead on arrival.

Schamus said that,” as a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), he has found himself among 12,000 of his colleagues who have decided to go on strike against the conglomerates controlling much of the content consumed by global audiences. With late-night comedy-variety shows going dark and countless productions being disrupted and shut down, he said their collective action has resulted in studio gates and corporate offices being besieged by thousands of picketers.”

Hollywood writers have gone on strike against conglomerates threatening to replace them with AI software.

Schamus points out that “while we didn’t want to resort to striking, it was necessary to take this action to stop the conglomerates from inflicting pain and degradation on us.”  He went on to say that as a member of the Guild negotiating committee, he has witnessed firsthand the tactics and strategies employed by the conglomerates over the past few months, which have included openly proclaiming their intention to weather the strike by producing programming far outside of the Guild’s jurisdiction.

However, the globalization of the industry has led to an unintended consequence: a remarkable increase in international solidarity among writers. The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, which now represents guilds with 50,000 members spanning the globe is sending a powerful message to their members: don’t write on guild-covered projects, don’t be a scab. Along with the unprecedented solidarity writers are getting from sister unions in the US and Canada, this message is resonating loudly, making it difficult for the conglomerates to replace writers with cheaper, non-union writers from distant shores, according to Schamus.

Generative AI to Replace Human Writers Amid WGA Strike?

Schamus said that “bosses are now dreaming of replacing writers  with generative AI software, which they see as a more efficient and cost-effective way of producing content.” During negotiations, the conglomerates flat-out refused to even counter “our proposals about AI,” instead offering an “annual meeting to discuss advancements in technology”.

This response was nothing short of absurd, and it’s clear that the conglomerates intend to use AI to disempower workers as they transform jobs into endless, frantic scrambles for gigs.

“As a writer, I’m both nervous and excited about the prospect of how AI will be used in our storytelling, but I don’t believe that it will simply shut off our jobs and replace us. However, the conglomerates’ position is insidious, as they are using AI as a tool to disempower workers and capitalize on the power of technology to transform jobs into endless, frantic scrambles for gigs,” he said.

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Schamus went on to add that he is fully in support of the WGA strike, adding that, no matter what, Hollywood’s plan to replace writers with generative AI is dead on arrival and the writers would continue to “fight for our rights and the rights of workers everywhere, both within and outside of the entertainment industry, to ensure that the power of capital is not allowed to disempower us.

Come to think of it, imagine you are watching a show that is written by an AI? yeah! That is what Hollywood is planning amid the WGA strike.

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