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US Writers’ Unions Petition Congress to Consider Writers Needs When Drafting AI Legislation

TL;DR

  • US writer and journalist unions, in a letter, lobbied Congress to address AI threats.
  • The union leaders fear AI will steal jobs, exploit creative works, and erode journalistic integrity.
  • The unions seek regulations to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair treatment in the AI age.

Major organisations representing writers in the United States are going to lengths to see that writing and journalism survive the existential threat posed by AI. 

In a letter addressed to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) by the presidents of the Writers Guild of America East and West, the NewsGuild and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, the unions urged Congress to consider the needs of writers and journalists as it drafts law to regulate AI in the country. 

Writers are Already Losing Jobs to AI

Writers and journalists are among the workers who face the most job threats by AI. In the past months, there have already been reports of writers losing their jobs to AI automation. Some have also sued big AI companies like OpenAI and Microsoft for allegedly stealing their work to train AI models. 

“So far this year, our members have witnessed the impact of unregulated AI on their jobs,” the letter reads. “Major news media companies, including Gannett and G/O Media sites, deployed AI articles with fake bylines to replace the work of hardworking local and digital journalists and writers.”

In the letter, the unions jointly lobbied Congress to ensure that the upcoming legislation for AI in the United States includes clauses that safeguard against the use of AI to surveil workers and their works and that writers retain the right to bargain over AI policy in the workplace.

WGA, Other Unions Call for Fair Compensation

The leaders also asked Congress to ensure that AI doesn’t replace journalists or replicate the works they produce without consent or fair compensation. They also urged Congress to protect professional voice, likeness and performance, and written talent. 

“AI is a rapidly advancing technology posing numerous real-world consequences. There must be strong legal guardrails put in place to ensure that this tool is not abused by companies to the detriment of a writer’s work,” said WGA East president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen.

The letter won’t be the first time Congress is reminded of the threats AI poses to journalists and writers. 

On January 10th, experts told Congress that AI poses a grave threat to journalism and has been “directly responsible for the decline in local news.”

“First, Meta, Google and OpenAI are using the hard work of newspapers and authors to train their AI models without compensation or credit,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal testified. “Adding insult to injury, those models are then used to compete with newspapers and broadcasters, cannibalizing readership and revenue from the journalistic institutions that generate the content in the first place.”

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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