John Cusack has likened major Hollywood film studios to “criminal enterprises” after a highly criticised new AI-related proposal.

This week, it emerged that Hollywood studios have proposed to use artificial intelligence to scan the faces of extras and use their likeness in perpetuity.

On Thursday, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) officially declared its intention to go on strike, with one of the many areas of concern for the union being the use of AI within the industry.

During a press conference, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) had made a so-called “groundbreaking” proposal that, with the use of AI, would allow the likenesses of film and television background performers to be used indefinitely.

Sharing his anger at the proposal on Twitter, Cusack said: “Studios wanna have extras work one day, scan them — own their likeness forever — and eliminate them from the business.

“Do you think they will stop with extras? That’s what AI is — a giant Copywrite identity theft [and] criminal enterprise.”

“We had no idea this would happen… they will say in 10 years when the scope and scale of the plunder is revealed,” he added. “Of course they did – it’s the business model – The aligorithms serve the profit motive.

He went on to call AI “savage capitalism,” adding: “Blame it on the algorithms you create to make more money.”

Many also voiced their concerns over Marvel’s new series Secret Invasion, due to it featuring an AI-generated opening credit sequence, instead of the work of human animators.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, the national board of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) – Hollywood’s largest union, which represents 160,000 actors and performers – have voted unanimously to strike, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The Hollywood shutdown is first time in 63 years that actors and writers have gone on strike simultaneously.

The cast of Oppenheimer left the London premiere of the film this week (July 13) at the moment an actors’ strike was called.

The separate WGA (Writers Guild Of America) strike, which began on May 2, occurred following unsuccessful negotiations with AMPTP, who represent major Hollywood studios like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, Paramount, Warner Bros. and others.


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