Actors Demand Stronger Protection Against AI Digital Doubles, Reminiscent of Black Mirror


  • Actors strike to secure stronger protections against AI digital doubles, fearing perpetual exploitation. 
  • Studios’ proposed AI protections are disputed by actors as insufficient, highlighting concerns over control and ownership. 
  • The outcome of negotiations will shape the future of actors’ rights in the face of advancing AI technology.


In a scenario reminiscent of an episode from the popular TV series “Black Mirror,” the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has initiated a historic strike against major studios, emphasizing the need for enhanced safeguards concerning the use of AI-generated digital replicas of performers. The union is concerned that these digital doubles could be exploited indefinitely, raising issues of consent, compensation, and control over actors’ likeness in the digital realm.

SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing contract negotiations with Hollywood studios have centered around securing actors’ authority over using their digital simulations on screen. As talks concluded without a mutual agreement, one of the major sticking points revolved around how studios could utilize AI to replicate actors’ voices and appearances.

In an age where breaches and hacks have opened up private photos and corporate emails to the public, Black Mirror reminds us that anything stored online or electronically is potentially accessible to others – and, no matter what steps are taken to avoid surveillance, our past actions can be traceable. Another perspective is that Black Mirror is known as a series about the dangers of technology, but it’s often more specifically about the corrupting influence of entertainment. These reminders highlight the pernicious use of AI if consent has been taken away from human identity owners.

Studios’ offered protections

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing major studios and streaming services like Walt Disney and Netflix, has claimed to propose a groundbreaking solution to protect performers’ digital likeness. The proposed measures involve obtaining an actor’s explicit consent to create and deploy a digital replica or to modify their performance digitally.

During a press conference, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, expressed his dissatisfaction with the studios’ characterization of their proposal. He refuted that the studios’ offer was groundbreaking and highlighted a specific concern regarding the treatment of background performers. Crabtree-Ireland criticized the proposal, stating that the studios suggest background actors could be scanned, compensated for a single day’s work, and then have the company own their scanned image and likeness indefinitely.

AMPTP’s response

The AMPTP swiftly responded, refuting SAG-AFTRA’s claim that background actors’ digital replicas could be exploited without consent or compensation in perpetuity. The studios clarified that the current proposal limits the use of digital replicas to the specific motion picture project for which the background actor is employed. Any additional usage of the digital replica would require the actor’s consent and negotiation, including a minimum payment.

SAG-AFTRA’s strike is driven by a growing fear among actors that advancements in AI technology could jeopardize their control over their own likeness. The union aims to secure stronger protections for performers against unauthorized or unethical use of their digital doubles. Activists seek to safeguard their rights and ensure fair compensation for utilizing their likeness in perpetuity by negotiating the terms under which AI-generated replicas can be created and employed.

The impact of AI on the entertainment industry

The rise of AI technology has presented opportunities and challenges for the entertainment industry. While AI can enhance production capabilities and create immersive digital experiences, it raises ethical concerns. The ability to replicate actors’ voices and appearances through AI algorithms has the potential to revolutionize filmmaking but requires careful consideration to avoid undermining actors’ creative control and economic rights.

As the strike continues, both SAG-AFTRA and the studios remain engaged in negotiations to address the concerns surrounding AI-generated digital replicas. The outcome of these talks will significantly impact the future of the entertainment industry, defining the boundaries of consent, ownership, and compensation in the context of AI technology.

SAG-AFTRA’s strike highlights the increasing apprehension among actors about the potential misuse and exploitation of their digital likenesses through AI-generated replicas. By demanding stronger protections, the union seeks to ensure actors’ control over their image, voice, and performances in the digital landscape. The ongoing negotiations will shape the industry’s response to AI’s ethical and legal challenges and set precedents for the future treatment of performers’ rights in an increasingly technologically advanced world.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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John Palmer

John Palmer is an enthusiastic crypto writer with an interest in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and technical analysis. With a focus on daily market analysis, his research helps traders and investors alike. His particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids his audience.

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