Weekly Column: Creativity and Labor at the Heart of AI Battle in Hollywood

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder and Managing Attorney Jeremy Evans has written a column about the use of generative artificial intelligence in Hollywood and its relationship to creativity and labor in the battle for the future of content.    

You can read the full column below.


The use of generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) in film and television has been a topic intense negotiation since its invention, use, and prospective use in Hollywood. On the one hand, the labor unions would like to protect workers and their ability to make a living. On the other hand, the executives with the studios and streamers see an opportunity to cut costs, speed up production, and release more films.

Somewhere in the middle, there is a balancing act that allows tradition to mix with the future. Meaning, that labor could use AI to create content that is more efficient and with accuracy. People continue to work, but with the use of technology that assists their work or at least is available as a tool.

The contention with AI in film and entertainment and creative work in general is that it raises the question of originality and human intuition and innovation. As a creative, the loss of creative exploration and the beauty of human creativity hits home. The temptation is to want to give up some creativity on the altar of advancement in technology through generative AI.

In the loss of creativity, there is a loss in process and learning that is so ideal to working environments where beautiful things are created. It is interesting nonetheless that technological advancements have always had a good and bad to them with gray areas of perplexity. This is because humans are inherently flawed in their living and execution, which is also beautiful in its frailty.

For example, the power of generative AI is demonstrated when Fable Studio in California created an AI platform that allows viewers to create their own animated episodes in a series. Essentially, the generative AI tool allows the viewer to become the showrunner. This creative technology is extraordinary in that it allows viewers to create something that may not have been created before. It is akin to playing a video game where the gamer gets to build their own team, players, and plot, so to speak. In some sense, the AI is managed and controlled by the system in which it operates.

Another example is in filmmaking production. Studios have long avoided strikes with labor unions and their workers because work needs to get done. Generative AI potentially replaces workers for more efficiency in process and cost savings. Powerful AI systems require a lot of energy and waivers and licensing for copyright and trademark, but if useable can help studios create more content. This is where fans, creatives, and studios/streamers will need to determine what is most important in negotiating for their future.

A modern example might help demonstrate the dilemma of technological advancement. The internet can be a great tool to obtain information, but can also lead to a reliance on less memorization and application. This leads to a rush to information overload. The application here is essential. Information in itself could be helpful, useful, or harmful, while the use or misuse of information can be also be helpful, useful, or harmful.

As a teenager our math teachers often told us we needed to show our work to see how we got to the answer. Does generative AI potentially take away from the creative or learning process or does it enhance the process? Practically speaking, generative AI could build on the prompts of the human input. On the other hand, generative AI shortens the pathway to get to the answer. There is optimism and hope that the technology can be helpful if used correctly and with discipline, disclosure, and principles.   


About Jeremy M. Evans:

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.  

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.