Disney is recruiting for a Research and Development Imagineering role with a focus on generative AI, pointing to their eagerness to extend the capabilities of AI tools. This move, parallel to Netflix’s, has led to worries among union members about job loss and the invasion of creative domains. The implementation of AI in Hollywood has rapidly evolved from simple digital effects to crafting digital voices for characters, however, these methods usually fail to capture the emotional nuances and intonations delivered by human actors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is in search of a talent adept at handling generative AI. The R&D Imagineering position, offering an annual salary of around $180,000, seeks an individual with the “drive to stretch the potential of AI tools and the ability to distinguish between the voice of data and the voice of a designer, writer, or artist.” This job posting comes at a time when the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America continue their strike for equitable pay from the studios. The impact of AI on their jobs remains another key concern for the performers.
This move closely mirrors a recent hiring initiative by Netflix. The streaming giant is searching for someone who can upgrade their Machine Learning Program. Initially used to suggest similar titles to viewers, Netflix now seems ready to integrate it into their content creation process. It remains to be seen whether these tools will augment the existing technology in Hollywood, or attempt to substitute the work of actors and writers. These developments occur amidst industry-wide strikes fueled partly by fears that the fast-paced progress of such tools and strategies might intrude upon creative territories currently controlled by union members.
Disney’s use of digital effects to adjust performances has been a longstanding practice, but the method has undergone rapid advancement in recent years. For instance, in 2010’s Tron: Legacy, Jeff Bridges was depicted as his younger self via simple digital effects, allowing him to retain control over his on-set performance. However, when Luke Skywalker made his appearance in The Mandalorian a few years back, a computer program produced his voice. This resulted in a digital face delivering dialogue, devoid of the emotions and intonations a living actor would have conveyed.
Image via Disney+
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What Lies Ahead for the Strike
As studios are planning to incorporate artificial intelligence in their production process, actors and writers are striving for their rights. Historically, royalties from movies and TV series have been insufficient, leaving the actors who contributed to the success of these productions with minimal earnings. Numerous projects, including Deadpool 3 and the final season of Stranger Things, have stalled their production due to the strike. Presently, the stance of both the studios and the unions remain unchanged since the breakdown of pre-strike negotiations, casting a cloud of uncertainty over the industry and indicating that a settlement, for both the creative individuals and corporations, may be delayed rather than imminent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Disney AI Recruitment
What position is Disney hiring for?
Disney is recruiting for an R&D Imagineering role that requires expertise in generative AI.
Why are union members concerned about Disney’s move towards AI?
Union members, including actors and writers, are worried that the implementation of AI in content creation could potentially replace their jobs and encroach on their creative spaces.
How is the use of AI in Hollywood evolving?
The use of AI in Hollywood has moved from basic digital effects to more advanced applications, such as creating digital voices for characters. However, these methods often lack the emotional depth and tonal variations that human actors provide.
What is the current state of the ongoing strike in Hollywood?
The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America are on strike, demanding fair wages from studios. The rapid development of AI tools has added another layer of concern regarding job security. At this point, both the studios and the unions remain unmoved from their pre-strike positions, leading to industry-wide uncertainty.
How is Disney’s AI recruitment similar to Netflix’s recent hiring move?
Similar to Disney, Netflix is also looking for someone to enhance their Machine Learning Program, initially used for recommending similar titles to viewers but now likely to be implemented in content creation. This has sparked concerns about the potential replacement of creative roles by AI.