After 148 days, the Writer’s Guild of America finally ended its strike. After briefly scrolling through social media, I realized that many people haven’t grasped the importance of this win for Hollywood writers. With the end of the writer’s strike, so many people are celebrating the new contract that writers have made with production companies, while others are celebrating the fact that their favorite weeknight television show is finally in the process of being revived. While it’s exciting to know that television shows such as 9-1-1 and The Rookie are undergoing the process of coming back to the big screen, it is also important to remember the real cause behind the strikes—a need for better compensation, residuals, and protection for artificial intelligence interfering with their jobs.
The WGA is a labor union that represents almost 12,000 writers throughout the U.S. With this strike, thousands of writers were able to guarantee their position in the workplace as AI is becoming more and more common. As a writer, it must have been difficult to look to the future, or even to the year ahead, when there is an advancing program that is intelligent enough to replace their career instantly. It was upsetting that the union concluded earlier this year that they needed to fight for themselves to protect their futures.
On Mar. 7, the WGA announced that its members had collectively agreed on a list of demands that asked for better compensation, better staffing and residuals, and protection from any damage that AI might bring to their jobs. When the studios failed to provide an adequate deal for a new contract, the strike began and quickly received support from actors and writers alike. Many actors banded together in support of the strike, and this, along with the many negotiations, led to a contract that all of the parties agreed on.
One of the reasons behind the strike was the unclear terms of AI use in the industry. With AI becoming more common in writing, writers are being forced to fight in a battle against robots. But the very fact that AI was even being considered to be used in Hollywood was surprising to me, because why would people even think a robot can replace human creativity? Furthermore, the idea that writers have to fight against AI in an attempt to remain fairly compensated and keep their jobs was alarming.
AI should never be allowed to replace writers, and with the new contract, AI is fully under the control of the writers and cannot take away from the credit and compensation that writers receive for their work. While the use of AI might make writing television shows an easier and faster process, AI is limited in its ability to be creative. Although AI is impressive in its ability to provide accurate and precise answers, it is not good at being creative because creativity does not align with specific goals. To be creative means to go outside the bounds of normalcy and reality, and AI is not capable of achieving that successfully.
To rely on AI for writers would essentially dehumanize writing for television and film because that kind of writing relies on people and their fondest memories with friends and family. People’s lives are major influences on their writing, and while AI has so many systems allowing it to grow in the future and possibly threaten people’s careers, the writing that AI produces cannot match the unique writing that human beings produce.