Sony Pictures Entertainment Chief Tony Vinciquerra Urges Guilds To Embrace “Common-Ground” Solution On AI: “You Can’t Get In The Way Of Technology”

Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra is hoping that Hollywood’s creative community will stop worrying and learn to love artificial intelligence.

Speaking at an investor conference in New York hosted by BofA Securities, the exec began his answer to a question about AI with the caveat that it’s a “very complicated subject.” Dramatic advances in AI applications like ChatGPT emerged just as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA were facing contract deadlines with the AMPTP, and the guilds have made limiting AI one of their core priorities in negotiations. The unions are concerned that studios will use the technology to cut writers and actors out of the process, reducing job opportunities, while also seeking securing intellectual property without human profit participants.

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Writers “are very afraid that we’re all going to put them all out of business. That is so far from the truth,” Vinciquerra said. “AI is an unbelievable tool for the writers. Every writer we talk to says, ‘We’re using AI to speed up our process and make it better.’ You can’t copyright a product that is generated by a computer. You can only copyright product made by a person. So, we’re not going to take a script written by a computer and make it into a TV show or a film.”

As far as actors, he continued, “you can’t take someone’s image or likeness without their permission. And everyone in the AMPTP and the production business is fully aware of that and will adhere to that. So, I think on AI, we’ll find a way to come to a common ground, hopefully soon.”

While Vinciquerra observed that “there are a lot of things that play into” the resistance to AI, he said it would need to be adopted in some fashion. “You can’t get in the way of technology. People who get in the way of technology don’t last long in business,” he said. “You look at the buggy-whip business, radio manufacturers. When radio started in the ’20s and ’30s, there were thousands of companies making radios. There aren’t many people making radios anymore.”

AI, the CEO argued, makes production “more efficient. It makes it faster. Speed is one of the biggest problems in production.” Producing TV shows or films is “a complex process” and AI “will speed that up.”

Vinciquerra’s comments came as the U.S. Senate convened a closed-door forum aimed at pooling insights on how boundaries and ground rules could be set for AI. Tech leaders including Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg as well as top officials from the WGA and MPA appeared at the event, with participants saying legislation could soon be put forward to help establish AI guardrails.

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