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Screenwriters and Actors Strike Over AI Concerns: Lessons for Legal Publishers and Blogging Lawyers

A cute round robot eating popcorn and drinking soda, a movie concept

160,000 television and movie actors voted to strike on Thursday. They’ll join 11,500 screenwriters who have been on strike for over 70 days.

Why are they on strike? Compensation and artificial intelligence.

AI? No one heard of AI six months ago, let alone decide to go to strike over the implications of AI.

Times have changed – quickly.

The New York Times reports the screenwriters are demanding guardrails on the use of AI – banning AI from writing and rewriting things such as stories and and screenplays or even writing the source material human writers would adapt for screen.

The actors have equally significant worries, per the Times.

The actors also have grave concerns about artificial intelligence, and how the technology could be used to replicate their performances using their previous work without their being compensated or consulted.

Terrified was the word from Tara Kole, a lawyer with the entertainment law firm Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole, which represents actors like Emma Watson and Ashley Judd.

I think that’s become the intractable issue. It feels existential and people don’t understand it. It’s new. It’s scary. Everyone is worried that all of a sudden they will be in a sequel to a movie and they are not getting paid for their work.

I’m with Kole that AI is new and scary. Terrifying, I don’t know.

Who knows how the strike will turn out, I am hardly an entertainment lawyer. AI will need to be, at least, addressed, and depending on the strength of one side or the other’s position, a shorter or longer contract could be negotiated to see the impact of AI over two or three years.

What’s this all have to do with legal publishers and blogging lawyers?

The writing of publishers and lawyers. Should it be protected from the corpus of AI? That’s the database educating AI.

But I think that’s a small point. I don’t see lawyers going to the mat looking to limit the dissemination of their work.

More importantly, lawyers need to keep their eyes up and be open to the dramatic changes we’re all going to see in our lives as a result of AI.

The way lawyers practice, manage a firm, the way they write, the way they communicate with clients, and more are all going to change with AI.

Blogging, alone, is going to changed. Lawyers will have a powerful assistant sitting by their side helping them blog.

Rather than be terrified or resist as some actors and screenwriters may be doing (I am not taking sides), the best thing to do may be to welcome change and be ready for it.