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SAG-AFTRA leaders explore new technology promises and threats and their impact on remnants – Labor Innovation and Technology Summit

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Updated with more citations: The promises and threats that new technologies pose to workers in the entertainment industry were investigated today at the 3rd Annual Labor Innovation and Technology Summit hosted by SAG-AFTRA and AFL-CIO.

You can follow the above all-day events.

Gabrielle Carteris SAG-AFTRA

“In the entertainment industry, the tension between technology and humanity is right in front of you,” said Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, in his opening remarks. “I wouldn’t know where I would be without Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services. Still, the sudden extreme pivot to streaming during a pandemic poses an existential threat to a performer’s ability to make a living.”

Large media companies said, “To ensure that workers share the economic benefits they generate, they will either change or blatantly change the basic pillars built by decades of collective bargaining. We’re using technology to ignore it, “she said.

Related Story SAG-AFTRA & AFL-CIO Hosts 3rd Annual Labor Innovation and Technology Summit

Carteris said the role of the union is “not to fight technology, but to participate in conversations from the beginning to help lead and shape the future of work. As technology evolves, humans treat it fairly. We need to enable humans to live a decent life and work with dignity and respect. “

David A. White SAG-AFTRA

David White, National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA, said changes in the way entertainment content is delivered on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Peacock, Apple Plus and Paramount TV could undermine the wage structure. Said. The residual formula that thousands of actors and performers have relied on for decades.

He argued that when the union’s current film and television contract expires in 2023, it could be a very tough round of negotiations, he said, the constant change in the new distribution system, the union about it. Do something The union’s management deal with AMPTP last year included a significant increase in the residuals of original shows created for high-budget streaming platforms, while White is a working actor and his remnants. We have shown that more drastic contract changes are needed to protect the differences.

White said today:

“In terms of consumer entertainment, storytelling felt that our story had changed. For our industry and workers, it meant a rapidly changing work environment. The pace and demand of work. Increasing production budgets are running low. People are required to go to work faster and stay longer. Our stunt performers are bigger, faster, in a more compact period. You are being asked to do more powerful stunts, which means that people are doing more when they work, and that also means that compensation is changing, in many ways. And without the union’s rivalry, people are paid less.

“We are experiencing what people are experiencing elsewhere in this industry, which means that people have less and less leverage in negotiations for wages, and this is medium. It begins to hollow out the middle class, and this is happening to our members as well, and will continue to happen if we are not careful.

“We have a unique payment structure in the industry. It’s called the residual, the payment people receive every time a job is abused. In the past, there was a” window structure. ” This meant moving the movie to DVD after it came out (in the theater) and then to pay-TV like HBO, or basic or golden-time TV. Every time it happened, people received a small payment, and that’s how people made a living.

“But now, when I look at Netflix, all the shows are sitting on the platform and sitting there. Increasingly, there are no” windows “. That is, the original bargains people had for compensation could be gone, which would make it difficult for people to make a living. That’s our role and we’ve put in place a structure to ensure that people continue to get paid while the product is on the platform. But without a competing structure, people wouldn’t. “

Jeffrey Cole, director of the Digital Future Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Communication and Journalism School, told White that he was more worried about returning to work behind the scenes during and after the pandemic.

“In fact, I’m more worried about the direct impact of hollowing out the people behind the camera,” he said. “For example, within the first few days of a pandemic, I learned that late-night shows-Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel-entered their homes. The first two weeks were like public access television. It looked, but then they found their own ditch. They brought together orchestras and writers, and suddenly they were able to produce a really high quality show with a crew of 20.

“I’m worried about the other 180 people [crew members] The person who put it together before the pandemic will do a long-term job, and I think it’s a place where hollowing out can happen, “he added.

Cole also told White: There is no replacement for it. The question is what they will be paid for. I understand. There may be some tweaks – I hope not. But I don’t think it will be a disaster for SAG-AFTRA members. It can be a disaster for people below the border. “

Carteris and White also talk about the serious threat to actors and all public figures posed by “deep fake” technology, a face-swapping computer system that has been used to digitally overlay members’ faces on pornstars’ bodies. We talked.

“If you want to write this down as a problem with limited reach, consider the potential impact of technology that can capture, store, and manipulate actor data and politician data. For actors, it’s their image. It means putting movement, personality into a scene where they have nothing to do with it, and making that “data” a reusable product without the consent of the actor.

“But deepfake is not only a challenge for performers, but a real threat to our democracy. Looking at the current political situation, how information manipulation and truth tampering can lead to hatred and division. It’s not hard to understand whether to ignite, endanger life, tear communities, or divide families. Parliamentarians across the country are slowly beginning to recognize the seriousness of the problem and to be fair. In addition, some members are acting faster than others, so the work we do as a union is very important. “

Tristan Harris, co-founder of free-thinking and prominently featured in the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma during a Q & A session with Carteris, said Tristan Harris, whose algorithm is based on platforms such as Facebook and Google. Observed to thrive in business models Designed to destroy the shared sense of reality by enhancing viewer prejudice and prejudice. While praising the virtues of equality of justice and equality of climate change, he said that “real equality” is just as important.

“We all see different realities,” he said. “Facebook’s business model draws your attention to advertisers. And what’s the best way to get your attention? Is it by giving everyone a shared reality? Or is it by giving your own Truman Show, which gives affirmation rather than information each time you flick your finger?

“3 billion people use Facebook,” he added. “But instead of seeing a common understanding of reality, we are each placed in a narrower, more crazy view of reality. You actually have a conspiracy theory that fits your mind. There are people who have been. “

AFL-CIO Secretary and Treasurer Liz Schuller discussed the future of work, “We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” “each revolution is … shaped by at least three things. How to use technology, and most importantly, worker innovation. “

She added: “And, as we know today, the labor movement, the force of collective bargaining, was born as an innovation response to changes in industry. Since then, we have been innovative. Therefore, steam factories and From coal mines to car factories to modern cockpits and offices, the labor movement has always been a means of transforming technological advances into better living standards and better wages.

“But now, this Fourth Industrial Revolution is accelerating towards us, breakthroughs are happening faster than ever, changing lives and jobs in all areas,” Schuller said. “And all of this was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which raises big questions about the future of work. And the labor movement actually puts workers at the center of these issues. It is the only large-scale power or institution in the country with sufficient power to put it down.

“We need to continue to organize, and we need to learn the technology and how to organize around it,” she added. Wage work. “

Speakers of other unions today include Amanda Ballantyne, Director of the AFL-CIO Technology Institute, Executive Vice President of SAG-AFTRA, President of Union New York Local, and Chairman of the National Innovation & New Technology Commission. Includes Rebecca Damon.

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