Study: AI worries US more than writers’ strike
July 25, 2023
As Hollywood shuts down over the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strikes, Americans are taking the side of the actors and writers, learning more about how AI might affect their own jobs, and are thus far unfazed that their favourite shows and new movies will be delayed.
According to a new study by SurveyMonkey, conducted July 18th-20th, only 23 per cent of US adults are concerned that the strikes will delay shows or upcoming movies. Instead, the focus is on the impact of AI, not just on Hollywood but on workers in every industry.
More than one-third of Americans (35 per cent) say that seeing familiar actors on strike is making them pay more attention to concerns about workers being replaced by AI. After hearing about the strikes, 44 per cent are more concerned about how AI can impact workers in general, and 32 per cent are paying more attention to how AI could impact their own job. These strikes may have the potential to influence labour across industries, with 46 per cent of Americans saying they think the role of labour unions will become more important with the growth of AI at work.
Public support is low for using AI to make TV and movies
Americans are generally unsupportive of AI use cases in the TV and film industries. Of the six use cases SurveyMonkey asked about, none had support from even half of US adults. The most-supported use case is creating special effects or altering actors’ appearances (42 per cent support). While very few support creating a ‘digital twin’ of an actor to use in movies in which they did not act (19 per cent support), more are supportive of using AI to generate voices for animated characters (38 per cent). Fewer support using AI to generate movie scripts from scratch (29 per cent) or to make casting decisions (21 per cent). Even the possibility of seeing themselves in a movie doesn’t move the needle; only 23 per cent support creating a ‘digital twin’ of someone like themselves to use as a background character.
AI isn’t replacing your favourite actors or writers anytime soon
Human writers and actors aren’t going anywhere, if public sentiment is to be believed. Two-thirds of US adults (66 per cent) believe AI will never fully replace Hollywood screenwriters or actors. Even when compared to Hallmark movies–heart-warming but generally formulaic–most (58 per cent) think AI would write a worse script.
If Hollywood did make a movie with an all-AI cast, most (69 per cent) say they probably or definitely wouldn’t go see it. Young people are the most willing to see an all-AI movie (36 per cent of 18-34 year olds would see it, compared with 18 per cent of those 65 and up).
But even with this opposition, only 41 per cent of Americans are confident they can tell when a character, voice, or image is AI-generated, including 55 per cent of 18-34 year olds, 40 per cent of 35-64 year olds, and just 23 per cent of those 65 and up. It may be possible that you’ve seen AI in movies already.