Justine Bateman on AI, Labor, and the Future of Entertainment

Audio of this conversation is available via your favorite podcast service. Artificial intelligence will likely impact every type of job. But this summer, Hollywood actors and writers have raised substantial concerns about the ways in which generative AI systems may be used to replace aspects of their human craft. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are currently joined in a dual strike, hoping to make progress on a range of labor grievances with the studios and streaming companies that employ them. Today’s guest is Justine Bateman, a writer, director, producer, author, and member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the WGA, and SAG-AFTRA. Bateman has been on both sides of the camera for much of her life, and has a particularly sharp perspective on how AI may change the entertainment industry, and why it matters to all workers that the unions are standing up on these issues now. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion. Justine Bateman: My name’s Justine Bateman. I am writer, director, producer, author. I am a member of the DGA, the WGA, and SAG. And if I found a way to belong to IATSE and Teamsters, I could have the entertainment union EGOT. Justin Hendrix: And I should point out also as well, someone who holds a degree in computer science and digital media management, which I suppose together with all of that experience makes you perhaps one of the…Justine Bateman on AI, Labor, and the Future of Entertainment