That's why it sounded so familiar!
Art Imitates Life
Hollywood actors have officially gone on strike, joining the Writers Guild of America on the picket lines for the first time in over 60 years — a reality that Netflix, a major force in the industry the actors are striking against, predicted almost exactly a month ago in its hit show "Black Mirror."
During the Wednesday announcement of the strike, SAG-AFTRA negotiators told harrowing stories of how studios had proposed to compel background actors scan their likenesses, which would then belong to the studios in perpetuity. Those actors would get then only get compensated for a single day's work, according to executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
As observers quickly pointed out, that's more or less the plot of a recent episode of the latest season of "Black Mirror," which was released about a month ago — a dystopian prediction of the future that became a reality far sooner than we would've guessed.
Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers. In the debut episode, titled "Joan Is Awful" and starring Annie Murphy, a woman's worst traits are exaggerated in a biographical drama starring Salma Hayek, who plays herself. But as it turns out, Hayek isn't her real self either, but an AI-generated likeness commissioned by an evil streaming corporation.
In other words, the Charlie Brooker-created Netflix show pretty much nailed the current discussion over a background actor's right over their digital likeness.
"Netflix really fucked up dropping that AI episode of 'Black Mirror' in the middle of the SAG negotiations, huh," movie reviewer Joe Russo tweeted earlier this week.
In some ways, it's an escalation of the existing conversation surrounding the threat of having AI replace writers.
"It’s one thing to have your work taken from you," The Guardian wrote, "but it’s another to have your entire likeness swiped."
And if recent reports are anything to go by, studios have already started replacing background actors with digital likenesses, a worrying sign that actors' jobs are indeed already on the chopping block.
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