Disney between losses, layoffs and artificial intelligence

Disney Hollywood

The tug-of-war between Hollywood studios and actors and writers continues. Only in recent days has a two-category strike led to cancellation of the Emmy ceremony, American Television Oscar. Scheduled for September 18, Fox was the first to push for a delay. The absence of Hollywood stars would have been the lowest point in the history of the event.

In recent days also “The Rock”, a pseudonym Dwayne Johnsondonated a significant amount to the Sag-Aftra (actors’ union) foundation to support the actors who are currently stopped by the protest, do not receive compensation. Solidarity also comes from Brad Pitt, who stopped filming Apexfilm “Formula 1” directed by Joseph Kosinsky and produced by a seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The cause of the largest strike in 60 years is now related to compensation, but even more so to the future of artificial intelligence on film sets. In fact, it is feared that this may create scripts or clones with the voice and image of the actors. Without proper guarantees, a strike was called and has been going on for more than two weeks.

See also “Hollywood, productions under threat due to the strike of actors”

But it looks like the negotiating table is not over yet. Especially since some of the multinational corporations in the sector have recently launched job postings for AI professionals. Among them, Disney closed 2022 with a loss and a 44% drop in shares. Not to mention about $900 million in losses and about 7,000 layoffs. The numbers are up from 871 million in the first half of 2023, keeping it at the top of the box office with just 5 films. Sectoral studies estimate Disney+’s losses and unprofitability through 2025. Numbers that should make us think, especially regarding the latest censorship and the politically correct choice that caused criticism and boycotts (in terms of attendance) in cinemas.

However, Disney’s wave of layoffs and losses contrasts with the company’s willingness to invest in AI.. As reported by “Hollywood Reporter” There are openings for R&D Imagineer focused on generative AI for those who have “ambition to push the boundaries of what AI tools can create and understand the difference between the voice of data and the voice of a designer, writer or artist.” Someone who will partner “with companies, universities, organizations, and third-party developers to evaluate, adopt, and integrate the latest generative AI.” The fee will be around $180,000 per year, plus bonuses.

See also “Emmy Awards postponed due to strikes in Hollywood”

Thus, on the one hand, the stars who point the finger at this hypothesis, on the other hand, Bob Iger (Disney CEO), who harshly criticized the strike, calling it shameful for the entire cinema system. “Nothing will stop technological progress” – Eiger’s words sound almost like a threat to the actors.

Disney is not alone in this direction. Job offers and vacancies were also made by Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Paramount, Warner Bros and Sony (which the announcement highlights how they believe in “the research and development of artificial intelligence techniques that empower the imagination and creativity of artists, creators and creators from around the world”, and again “our goal is to advance artificial intelligence so that it expands and works in harmony with people for the benefit of society”).

But almost all of them, and again not only the company bearing the name of the famous cartoonist of the early 20th century, came out of a period of heavy layoffs. The line, which seems to be affirmative, seems to justify the fears of the strikers. We no longer need numerous workers in the industry, as they will be replaced by AI and the few who have to control it. An almost dystopian future from Hollywood movies. We’ll have to wait to see if the actors will be real or machine generated.

Photo by Safe Ak on Unsplash

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