Netflix has sparked anger among striking Hollywood actors and writers with its recent job advertisement for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert. The company is seeking to hire an AI specialist for its Machine Learning Platform team, responsible for driving the Netflix algorithm that assists viewers in discovering new content to watch. The salary offered for the position, up to $900,000 (£700,000) per year, has further fueled the outrage among Hollywood unions, which are currently on strike due to concerns about the impact of AI on the entertainment industry and pay.
While the job listing does not explicitly mention advising on content, there is speculation that the role might involve influencing investment decisions for TV programs and films. This raises concerns among actors and their unions, such as Sag-Aftra, that algorithms are wielding too much power and dictating aspects like the number of episodes per season and the number of seasons for a series.
Fran Drescher from Sag-Aftra expressed worry that the success of a film or TV show is now less critical, as algorithms determine viewership patterns and subscriber acquisition thresholds. This has led to shorter seasons and fewer episodes, adversely affecting actors’ income and job opportunities.
The Writers’ Guild (WGA) is also concerned about AI’s role in the writing process and aims to introduce regulations to prevent AI from becoming a primary source material for creative content.
Netflix, on the other hand, maintains that AI will not replace the creative process and emphasizes the importance of original and insightful stories that come from human experiences.
The recent job posting drew criticism from striking actors, as it highlights the vast difference in pay between the AI expert’s potential salary and the income required by actors to qualify for health insurance benefits.
Despite the uproar, Netflix continues to develop its AI-driven features, such as the newly launched “My Netflix” app, which aims to provide a personalized experience for users to easily find content that suits their preferences.
As the strike persists, tensions between Hollywood unions and the streaming giant remain high, with the future implications of AI on the entertainment industry remaining a contentious issue.