Saying that artificial intelligence threatens to radically alter employers’ business models and disrupt the livelihoods of IATSE members, the union unveiled its core principles on Wednesday for the application of artificial intelligence and intelligence technologies. machine learning in the entertainment industry.
The move follows unions creating a Commission on Artificial Intelligence in May.
With AI, the stakes for IATSE members across all trades are high, said IATSE President Matthew Loeb. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am pleased to report that the unions’ efforts are already well underway.
AI is a key bargaining issue for both the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA, and it will be for IATSE as negotiations begin for a new film and television deal next year. The WGA has been on strike for 65 days and SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly to call for a strike if they don’t get a fair deal by July 12.
Here are IATSE’s core principles for using artificial intelligence:
1. Comprehensive Approach: The deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology in the arts, entertainment and media industries threatens to radically alter employers’ business models and disrupt livelihoods of IATSE members. The stakes are high, so IATSE’s approach as a union must be comprehensive, focusing on research, collaboration, education, policy and legislative advocacy, organizing and collective bargaining.
2. Research: IATSE will be at the forefront of understanding the impact AI and ML will have on members and the wider entertainment industry. This includes a better understanding of how AI and ML tools are being used now by members and employers, the capabilities and limitations of existing AI and ML tools, predicting the capabilities and limitations of AI and ML tools to be developed in the future . IATSE will work to establish clear definitions that categorize various types of so-called artificial intelligence in order to promote applicable legislative and collective bargaining oversight. IATSE will also urgently identify which local artisans and unions are most at risk of being affected in the immediate future. The IATSE Commission on Artificial Intelligence will undertake a comprehensive study of AI technologies, with a focus on how they can reshape the entertainment industry workplace landscape under the jurisdiction of IATSE. It will also consider how contractual arrangements, legislation and training programs can be adapted to ensure that the fruits of increased productivity through AI are shared fairly among all stakeholders.
3. Collaboration with Partners and Stakeholders: The IATSE Commission on Artificial Intelligence will bring together IATSE members and representatives at all levels, as well as external experts to guide unions’ approach to the challenges and opportunities presented by this new technology. Union leadership and this commission interface with allied groups and organizations, including but not limited to the AFL-CIO Technology Institute, the Human Artistry Campaign, the Copyright Alliance, and the Department of Professional Employees (AFL-CIO). Given the distributed nature of this technology and the reality of dealing with multinational corporations, IATSE will also continue to collaborate with allies outside the United States and Canada, including organizations such as UNI MEI and BECTU.
4. Education: IATSE members will continue to be the best in the world at what we do. We have adapted to new technologies and even developed many of the tools and techniques that have propelled entertainment over the past 130 years. We will embrace new technologies and address the issue head-on. We affirm that our members have the right to receive appropriate training and upskilling opportunities to deal with any changes brought about by AI in their work environment. We will continue to work to equip our members with the skills to navigate this technological advance and build a culture of continuing education, both through the IATSE Education and Training Department, and through the IATSE Training Trust Fund.
5. Organization: IATSE recognizes the implementation of AI and ML as catalysts for organization. Our union is committed to organizing entertainment workers into new related job classifications.
6. Maintain workers’ rights, job security of members and union jurisdiction: Workers in jobs that use AI should be afforded the same rights and protections as those in roles that have not historically used AI. New technology must not become an excuse to erode the conditions we have fought for for decades, nor must it become a way to bypass the union altogether. The implementation of AI and ML should not lead to job losses, but rather should serve as a tool, complementing the work done by our members. We are committed to continuing to defend the job security of our members in the face of AI integration.
7. Political and legislative advocacy: The union will continue to represent the interests of entertainment workers behind the scenes in shaping policy, focusing on maintaining strong copyright and intellectual property laws. As members of the Human Artistry Campaign, IATSE advocates fundamental principles for applications of artificial intelligence in support of human creativity and achievement. In general, we will support policies that:
Ensure entertainment workers are paid fairly when their labor is used to train, develop or generate new jobs from AI systems
Prioritize people involved in the creative process and protect intellectual property owners from theft
Improve transparency of the use of AI and ML systems
Prevent legal loopholes that can be exploited by individuals, businesses and organizations in the United States, Canada and elsewhere
8. Collective bargaining: The impact of AI on working conditions and roles falls under the mandatory subjects of collective bargaining. We are committed to negotiating AI provisions in our future contracts. IATSE requires transparency from employers regarding their use of AI, even in the absence of relevant government legislation. We are committed to safeguarding our members’ privacy rights and ensuring that AI applications adhere to the highest ethical standards, including non-discrimination and fairness. We also recognize that collective bargaining is the main way to ensure workers don’t have to wait for government regulation through legislation, which may take years or may never come.
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