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Report on Gen AI Raises Alarm Bells About Employment Challenges in the Entertainment Industry

The film and animation industry is poised to experience a more significant impact on job losses due to Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) compared to other sectors, as per a report by CVL Economics, a consulting firm.

The report, released in January 2024, is based on a survey of 300 leaders hailing from six entertainment sectors. This group included c-suite executives, senior executives, and mid-level managers, who were surveyed between November 17 and December 22, 2023. According to the findings, a staggering 75% of respondents noted that Gen AI tools, software, and models had played a role in either eliminating, reducing, or consolidating jobs within their respective divisions.

Gen AI is a form of artificial intelligence that can generate a variety of content such as images, text, and music without the need for explicit programming. It leverages machine learning to grasp and replicate patterns from existing data.

The report indicates that a majority of entertainment leaders, amounting to 55%, anticipate that sound designers will be the most affected by Gen AI in the next three years. Additionally, over 40% foresee potential vulnerabilities for music editors, audio technicians, and sound engineers, while approximately 33% predict impacts on songwriters, composers, and studio engineers.

In July 2023, shortly after the launch of ChatGPT, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) initiated a strike due to concerns surrounding the advancement of AI and its potential effects on job roles and security.

Prior to the strike, many companies were employing content created by writers to train Gen AI programs and develop digital replicas and characters modeled after actors. Striking workers expressed concerns about the potential replacement of their roles by Gen AI technology in the absence of robust safeguards.

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Despite more favorable contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, members of WGA and SAG-AFTRA remain apprehensive about the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Gen AI on the film, television, and other entertainment industries.

The report reveals that 47% of business leaders believe that Gen AI will effectively generate 3D assets and realistic sound design for film, television, and video games within the next three years. An additional 44% think Gen AI can produce realistic foreign language dubbing for film or television dialogue, while 39% anticipate Gen AI’s ability to generate music mixes and masters by 2026.

However, the report also highlights that several prominent companies, including Riot Games, Unity Software, Amazon MGM Studios, Pixar, and Universal Music Group, have already announced layoffs in the early weeks of 2024. CVL Economics suggests that further job cuts in these industries are expected in the coming months.