Streaming service provider Netflix has posted a $900,000 per year AI job listing at a time actors and writers in Hollywood are up in arms against the use of AI over its potential risks to their livelihoods.
The actors and writers are worried the continued advancements in the AI industry and its adoption in the film industry may put their jobs in jeopardy, with studios reusing their voices or likeness repeatedly with little or no payment.
Good content from AI
The company is looking for an AI product manager for its machine learning platform as it pushes to leverage AI for the creation of “good content,” further fueling outrage in Hollywood among writers and actors. Disgruntled stakeholders feel Netflix is being hypocritical and is willing to pay so much for a particular job, what they are worth, while the company also wants to pay others as little as they can get away with.
“Our business is driven by machine learning/artificial intelligence, which fuels innovation in content free and acquisition, personalization, payment processing, and other revenue-centric initiatives,” wrote the company in the job listing.
According to an Economic Times report, this is not the only AI post that Netflix is advertising, as the company wants AI’s use beyond recommendations for movies and shows.
The company is also looking for a technical director for generative AI at its gaming studios as it continues to embrace AI across its business, which is the trend these days with the entertainment industry integrating the technology.
AI has been identified as critical in optimizing operations and businesses across several sectors are looking at ways of integrating it into their operations.
AI has been touted to be a game changer of the century with its ability to optimize operations across sectors, which has made businesses scramble to embrace it, and the arts and entertainment industry seem intrigued by the technology too.
AI job hiring spree
According to The Hollywood Reporter, not only Netflix has set eyes on AI job listings but it’s a trend prevalent across studios and streaming services in Hollywood. Disney reportedly has a lineup of AI job listings and some of the jobs are for its “Imagineering” teams.
One of the jobs is for an R&D Imagineer who will be focused on generative AI.
The role requires someone with an “ambition to push the limits of what AI tools can create and understand the difference between the voice of data and the voice of a designer, writer or artist.”
The $180,000 per year job will also ensure a collaboration with “third-party studios, universities, organizations, and developers to evaluate, adopt, and integrate the latest generative AI.”
At Disney, the move is not surprising. When Bob Iger returned to the firm as CEO last November, he told his first town hall meeting that AI was inevitable.
“Nothing is going to stop technological advancement,” he said responding to an employee’s questions on the company’s plans to embrace the fast-growing generative AI, adding that it was “something that at some point in the future the company will embrace.”
At Warner Bros. Discovery, there is also a list of AI jobs in the video game division, while Paramount is looking for a machine learning engineer for its CBS unit. Comcast, which is NBCUniversal owners has a few openings for AI and ML jobs for customer service and research among other areas.
Generative AI’s adoption has been received with mixed reactions. Some artists have embraced it as a tool capable of enhancing their products while others have frowned at it.
In music, the likes of rapper Ice Cube have criticized its use in music production and labelled it “demonic.”
The AI controversy
Now, the announcement by Netflix for the job has also come at a time when Hollywood actors and writers are continuing with their strike for protection against AI. On Tuesday, July 25, the SAG-AFTRA had a high-profile demonstration in Times Square, New York, a stone’s throw from Broadway theatres, as part of their strike against Hollywood.
Among the top stars at the event were Brandan Fraser, Wendell Pierce, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Michael Shannon, Rachel Zegler, Jane Curtin, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christian Slater.
According to the Economic Times, the actors at times aimed at the corporate billboards around them like ESPN and ABC Studios, which are owned by Walt Disney.
Fighting the good fight
The Good Wife star Christine Baranski said: “We will not live under corporate feudalism. It is time, it is just simply time to make things right.”
“Our contribution will not be undervalued, and we will not be robbed,” she said, urging her peers that “let’s fight the good fight.”
Before this, other prominent actors like John Cusack and Tom Cruise threw their weights behind the writers and actors in their protest against AI in the film industry.
The actors, earlier this month joined striking screenwriters who started their protest in May in what has been the biggest strike since 1960 when both unions have simultaneously gone on strike, which has had a knock-on effect on the film industry.
Among the key concerns, actors are not comfortable with “metahumans” or AI-generated actors as these may take away their roles.
Another bone of contention is the plan by Hollywood studios to create synthetic performers from an amalgamation of actors’ images. Writers are worried about the use of LLM like ChatGPT to write scripts which may hurt their earnings in the long-term.