Netflix has recently come under fire from Hollywood actors and writers who are currently on strike due to concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the entertainment industry and pay. The streaming giant posted a job advertisement for an AI expert to join its Machine Learning Platform team, responsible for driving the Netflix algorithm that helps viewers discover new programs to watch. This job offer has fueled further outrage, as it offers a staggering salary of up to $900,000 per year.
The striking Hollywood unions, including Sag-Aftra (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and WGA (Writers Guild of America), are deeply concerned about the influence of algorithms on the industry. They fear that AI’s increasing role in decision-making could lead to a decline in the number of episodes per season and the number of seasons for TV shows, ultimately affecting their livelihoods.
One key concern revolves around the power algorithms have in determining a show’s success based on factors like new subscriber growth and viewer engagement. This has prompted unions to propose regulations on AI’s use in the creative process to ensure it doesn’t replace human creativity and storytelling.
Netflix has remained tight-lipped about the specific role of the AI expert in content selection and investment decisions. The company has, however, previously stated that AI will not replace the creative process and that the best stories come from genuine human experiences.
The recent job listing has garnered strong criticism from striking actors who are currently struggling to earn enough to qualify for health insurance benefits. Some see the exorbitant salary offered for the AI position as wasteful, arguing that it could be better used to support more actors and their families.
In response to the controversy, Netflix recently launched a new app called “My Netflix,” aimed at providing a personalized, user-friendly experience for viewers to easily choose what they want to watch. However, the launch of this app has done little to quell the anger among the striking Hollywood professionals.
The debate around AI’s role in the entertainment industry is likely to continue as technology advances and algorithms play a more significant role in content creation, curation, and distribution. Hollywood unions are determined to protect their members’ interests and ensure that AI is used responsibly and collaboratively with human creativity rather than replacing it entirely. As the industry navigates these challenges, the future of entertainment and the role of AI remain subjects of intense discussion and debate.