Netflix exec behind Arrested Development and House of Cards says creatives who uses AI will take your job

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Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos doesn’t think AI will ever replace the work of Hollywood’s best creative minds. But he does think using AI might help them beat their competition. 

In an interview with the New York Times Sarandos said using AI will become a new industry standard and that those in the movie business who don’t keep up with the tech will get left behind.

“A.I. is not going to take your job,” Sarandos told the Times in an interview published Saturday. “The person who uses A.I. well might take your job.”

It’s an oft-repeated phrase from executives and career coaches across the business world. The idea is that while AI tools like ChatGPT or Google’s Gemini can’t completely replace a person, they can help those who know how to use them work more efficiently than those who don’t. Essentially being an AI expert will become a skill in and of itself. 

Sarandos’ point was that the same thing would apply to the entertainment industry. Other big name executives like legendary mogul Barry Diller also downplayed AI’s effects in replacing creatives, calling it “over-hyped.” In Hollywood, generative AI took front seat during the writers- and-actors strikes that roiled the industry last summer. 

The debate over the use of the technology became an almost existential question for some working writers and actors. Writers feared that much of their work would be turned over to AI that would crank out passable scripts. While actors feared that their likenesses would be scanned by AI and then used in perpetuity by studios. Eventually the unions won out, curbing the use of AI and ensuring it couldn’t be used as a credited writer or a means to supplant actors during filming. 

Sarandos said AI was just the latest in a long list of innovations in technology that changed the business models of the movie business. “I think that A.I. is a natural kind of advancement of things that are happening in the creative space today, anyway,” he said. 

He went on to cite examples such as computer-generated animation and rise of the home video market with VHS and DVD sales, as examples that the industry fought and fretted over, before embracing. 

“Every advancement in technology in entertainment has been fought and then ultimately has turned out to grow the business,” Sarandos said. “I don’t know that this would be any different.”

That being said, Sarandos doesn’t think AI will be able to replace the best screenwriter or actor. “I have more faith in humans than that,” he said. “I really do. I don’t believe that an A.I. program is going to write a better screenplay than a great writer, or is going to replace a great performance.” 

That’s not to say that some companies and industries aren’t already facing significant disruptions to their labor forces. About a fifth of American workers are in jobs that are especially prone to being impacted by AI like certain roles in IT departments or positions that require extensive data analysis, according to Pew Research. Certain types of jobs in content creation also fall into the category of work susceptible to being replaced by ChatGPT. But that would likely be the more rote types of work in those fields such as aggregating news articles or rewriting the umpteenth draft of a movie script. 

That’s not to say that some companies haven’t already started to eye ways to use AI to replace certain workers. In certain circles, commentators have started to speculate that some tech companies are already trimming their workforce as a result of AI. As the technology has proliferated they’ve slowly culled their ranks or decided against backfilling open roles. 

All the tensions between the entertainment industry and AI haven’t gone unnoticed in Washington D.C. Lawmakers are said to be considering a bill specifically meant to address the use of AI in film and music that could be introduced as early as June.



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