With Actors, Writers on Strike, Netflix Advertises $900K AI Job

Company seeks to increase the 'leverage of our machine learning platform'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2023 5:11 AM CDT
With Actors, Writers on Strike, Netflix Advertises $900K AI Job
Dan Gregor, left, and Rachel Bloom appear on a picket line outside Netflix studios on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

With actors and writers on strike together for the first time since 1960, a job listing from Netflix is raising eyebrows. The company is offering up to $900,000 for an artificial intelligence-related job that involves increasing the "leverage of our machine learning platform," the Guardian reports. The streaming service is also offering up to $650,000 for an AI director at its gaming studio. The use of AI is one of the main issues unions have cited, with SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland saying studios have proposed that background actors be scanned in return for one day's pay, allowing companies to own their likeness and use it in perpetuity "with no consent and no compensation."

The union says 87% of its actors make less than $26,000 per year. It's not clear whether the $900,000 job will involve the creation of content, Mashable reports. Netflix already uses AI to generate customer recommendations, among other things, though it also used AI to generate backgrounds in anime short The Dog and the Boy—and it plays a central role in Spanish reality series Deep Fake Love, in which people are shown deepfaked videos depicting their partners cheating on them. Actor Rob Delaney, who appeared in a Black Mirror episode about an actress battling a studio using her image against her will, tells the Intercept that it's "ghoulish" to pay so much for an AI role when so many actors are struggling.

"Having been poor and rich in this business, I can assure you there's enough money to go around; it's just about priorities," Delaney says. Studios including Disney are also hiring for AI roles. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and streaming services, has said it's ready to agree to union demands for informed consent and fair compensation when an actor's likeness is recreated by AI, but "there's likely some disagreement regarding exactly what 'informed consent' and 'fair compensation' entail," Mashable notes. (More Netflix stories.)

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