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Earlier this week, on the (technically striped) red carpet at the Met Gala, abandonment Star Amanda Seyfried answered a tough question: What did she think about the then-impending Writers Guild of America strike? Wearing an elegant Oscar de la Renta gown crafted from 80,000 gold and platinum bugle beads, she told a Variety reporter that everything he had heard from writer friends indicated that they would picket if they could not reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Serena, draped in priceless clothing and jewelry, stood her ground.
“I don’t understand what the problem is,” he said. “Everything changed with streaming and everyone has to be compensated for their work. That’s easy.
Seyfried’s friends were right. At midnight that night, while many Met Gala attendees were still at the after-parties, the WGA declared the strike, the first of its kind in 15 years, to be underway. “The decision was made after six weeks of negotiation with @Netflix, @Amazon, @Apple, @Disney, @wbd, @NBCUniversal, @Paramountplus and @Sony under the umbrella of the AMPTP,” said the organization tweeted Monday afternoon. “While our Bargaining Committee began this process with the intent of making a fair deal, the studio responses have been wholly inadequate given the existential crisis writers are facing.”
Throughout the week, the explainers have delved into what this crisis entails. On the one hand, the union’s 11,500 film and television writers were seeking more writers per show, shorter exclusive contracts and a better minimum wage, all conditions the union says have worsened in the streaming era. On the other hand, the union wants protective measures for the use of AI by Hollywood studios.
Specifically, the Writers Guild requests that its contract include language stipulating that each credentialed writer is a human person, that scripts, treatments, outlines, and other “literary material,” in industry parlance, may not be written by ChatGPT or its type. . In addition, they ask that AI not be used to generate source material or be trained on work created by WGA members. PTAMP answered saying they would be willing to have “annual meetings to discuss advances in technology.”
Call someone a Luddite these days and they’ll think you’re saying they’re afraid of technological change. The actual Luddites, however, were nothing of the sort. In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, in the midst of an economic downturn and rising unemployment, British textile workers began to demand better wages. Their form of protest was destroying the machines that automated their work. Many workers at the time were worried about being replaced by technology, but that doesn’t mean the Luddites were totally against it. “They just wanted machines that make high-quality products,” Kevin Binfield, publisher of Writings of the Luddites, said Smithsonian Magazine in 2011“and they wanted these machines to be run by workers who had gone through an apprenticeship and received decent wages.”