Why are Hollywood actors on strike?


The use of AI in acting has raised new concerns among actors, where artificial intelligence is perfectly mimicking all human expressions and translating them on screen. There is also sick competition. It is also alleged that the performers are being deprived of their fair dues.

It was just a month ago, on June 15, that the sixth season of Black Mirror was released on Netflix. The first episode of the science fiction based series was Jon Is Offal , where an ordinary woman named Jon suddenly discovers that every moment of her life is being perfectly visualized in the series aired on a streaming platform. What he is doing, is becoming the scene of the series!

And Hollywood actress Salma Hayek is playing the role of that woman. Jon becomes desperate to prevent the broadcast of details, secrets and intimate details of his life.

At one stage, the woman even forced Salma Hayek to stand in front of him. And then you know that Salma is not acting in his role. The streaming platform bought Salma’s face and created the character with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

What happened next?

To know, you have to look away from the screen a little in reality. Just one month after the airing of this episode of Zone is Offal, Hollywood actors have left the world of light cameras and come down to the streets. Joined the ongoing strike of writers. Hollywood has not seen such a strike in the last six decades. If this strike of actors is not addressed, the wheels of the world’s biggest entertainment machine may come to a standstill.

Earlier, however, the actors wanted to go on strike. But they could not do the work because of the contract of the studios with the two organizations of Hollywood actors The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). The contract expires on July 12 at 12pm local time. After that they joined the ‘Writers Guild of America’, who have been on strike since May 2.

Why this strike?

For more than a hundred years, the silver screen has been considered as our main form of entertainment. With the passage of time new technologies have been added to it. The size of the silver screen has changed. The ‘magic box’—television—entered people’s homes. The form of this television has also changed over the decades. And now, thanks to the mobile phone, almost everyone has a screen, which has given people the convenience of watching anything at any time. By exploiting this advantage, new media streaming platforms have arrived in audio-visual entertainment.

Streaming platforms have created an explosion of entertainment content, but the strike says that even as content has increased, income for performers has decreased. Let’s make this clear. In the era of network television, an actor received an award every time his work aired on screen. That is, when the actors acted in a screenplay, they did not get the honorarium, in addition, every time the screenplay was re-broadcasted and commercialized, they would get partial honorarium.

But with the arrival of streaming platforms, this rule of the previous era of network television was overturned. Because you can watch the same content over and over again once you join the streaming platform’s server. Streaming platforms do not pay performers any ‘residual pay’ or reruns like in the network television era. As a result, the income of the performers naturally decreased.

But beyond these, the use of AI in the field of acting has raised new fears in the minds of the actors. Will AI become an alternative to actors? Currently, more than one and a half million Hollywood actors have stopped all work to find the answer to this question.

Is AI an alternative to actors?

Fran Drescher is leading the Hollywood actors’ movement. He is the head of the Screen Actors Guild. “We are under attack from a very greedy entity,” he told the BBC. And to appease this monstrous machine of greed, producers are now turning to artificial intelligence to produce unbridled content.

How are they doing the job? Let’s illustrate the point with the example of Carrie Fisher. This famous Hollywood actress died in December 2016. She is immortalized in the hearts of film lovers for her portrayal of Leila Organa in the Star Wars series. So after Carrey’s death in 2016, the story of Star Wars: Rogue One required his character to be brought back. He is also brought back through computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Similarly, in the recently released Indiana Jones: The Dial of Destiny, 81-year-old Harrison Ford is manipulated by AI to become 40-year-old Ford. So will AI recreate old artists like Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro or Al Pacino after they die?

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