How the Writers Guild sunk AI’s ship
No one’s gonna buy enterprise AI licenses if they can’t fire their workers.
After a grinding, 148-day strike, the Writers Guild of America ran the table, conceding virtually nothing and winning virtually everything.
The most consequential outcome will be data on streaming viewership. For the studios, these numbers are state secrets, revealed on a need-to-know, burn-before-reading basis, even within the studios themselves.
Hiding streaming data has two obvious benefits to the studios. First, it lets the studios keep creative workers in the dark about the success of the shows they work on, so that their agents and unions can’t bargain for higher pay on the basis of having knocked the last one out of the park.
Second, it lets execs hide how many dismal failures they greenlit from investors and stock analysts, whose rage and incredulity would send the share prices tumbling and lead to calls for the board to replace top management.
So the fact that these numbers will finally be disclosed is a Big Hairy Deal, but that’s not where everyone’s attention went on this strike.
For both writers and their supporters, the most visible deal-point wasn’t streaming data, it was AI.
For the AI sector, a 148-day news-cycle about how AI threatened writers’ jobs was a gift from the heavens.
It’s not just that there’s no such thing as bad publicity — it’s that this bad publicity was very good for AI’s narrative of being the most powerful, amazing and transformative technology since fire, or possibly language.
Here’s how that works: “If the writers are convinced that AI can write scripts so well that they will all be out of a job in five years, then you should absolutely invest in AI technology, because it is obviously incredibly powerful.”
And here’s how that works: “If the writers are convinced that AI can write scripts so well that they will all be out of a job in five years, then you should absolutely buy an enterprise site-license so that you, too, can…