Justine Bateman Speaks On The Danger Of AI

Renowned Actress and Computer Scientist Urges Action to Protect Actors and Creativity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


  • Justine Bateman, a computer scientist and actress, warns that the entertainment industry must address the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) now or risk making future labor actions ineffective.
  • She emphasizes the need for strong rules and iron-clad protection for actors against the unauthorized use of their image and voice.
  • Bateman expresses concerns about the use of computer-generated images and the potential for AI to replace writers in the industry.

WGA strike

In the midst of the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike, acclaimed actress and computer scientist, Justine Bateman, has taken to social media to highlight the profound implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on the future of the entertainment industry. With her unique background and insights, Bateman’s warnings serve as a wake-up call for the industry to address the looming threat of AI and its potential to render future labor actions ineffective. As the strike enters its third week, Bateman’s voice resonates with urgency and calls for robust protective measures to safeguard the livelihoods of actors and preserve the integrity of creativity.

The Changing Landscape of Labor Actions:

Bateman, known for her role as Mallory Keaton in the 1980s sitcom “Family Ties,” is not only a seasoned actress but also possesses a degree in computer science and digital media management from UCLA. With this diverse expertise, she sheds light on the shifting dynamics of labor actions in the entertainment industry. In a series of thought-provoking tweets, Bateman asserts that AI’s rapid advancement demands immediate attention. She believes that failing to establish strong rules and regulations now would make future strikes futile, as the industry would become less reliant on human labor.

Protecting Actors in an AI-Driven Era:

Central to Bateman’s concerns is the unauthorized use of actors’ images and voices, enabled by the growing capabilities of AI. As computer-generated images (CGI) become increasingly sophisticated, the line between reality and virtuality blurs. Bateman warns that actors risk being “tripled and quadrupled booked” as their digital likenesses can be employed simultaneously in various productions. This raises critical questions surrounding intellectual property rights, fair compensation, and the preservation of an actor’s individuality and creative contributions.

To combat these threats, Bateman calls upon actors to demand “iron-clad protection” from industry organizations such as the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). These protections would shield actors from the exploitation of their image and voice, ensuring their careers remain under their control in an era increasingly influenced by AI.

AI’s Encroachment on the Craft of Writing:

Beyond the impact on actors, Bateman highlights the potential consequences of AI in the field of writing. With the ability to train AI programs on existing TV series or films, the need for human writers could be drastically diminished. Bateman illustrates this point by citing the example of training an AI program on a beloved show like “Family Ties,” enabling it to create additional seasons without the involvement of the original writers. This scenario raises concerns about the quality, originality, and human touch that AI-generated content may lack, as well as the potential implications for job opportunities within the writing community.

The WGA’s Battle for AI Restrictions:

Recognizing the threat posed by AI, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) included proposals in their negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to restrict the use of AI in writing and rewriting literary material, as well as utilizing AI as source material. However, the AMPTP rejected these proposals, indicating a disagreement regarding the role and limitations of AI in the industry. This rejection further reinforces Bateman’s call for actors to unite and assert their demands for protective measures against AI encroachment.

Navigating a Technological Future:

As AI continues its relentless advance into mainstream applications, the integration of technology into the entertainment industry raises profound questions about the delicate balance between progress and the preservation of human creativity. Image: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com


The ongoing WGA strike serves as a pivotal moment for the industry to address these concerns head-on and establish comprehensive rules and regulations that address the influence of AI.

The outcome of the negotiations and the resulting policies will shape the future landscape of the entertainment industry, determining how it navigates the challenges presented by AI. It is a critical juncture where actors, writers, unions, and industry organizations must collaborate to develop frameworks that ensure fair treatment, proper compensation, and the preservation of artistic integrity in the face of technological disruption.

The entertainment industry has always been at the forefront of technological advancements, constantly evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world. From the early days of silent films to the advent of color television and the rise of streaming platforms, the industry has consistently adapted to embrace innovation. However, the impact of AI presents a unique set of challenges that require thoughtful consideration and proactive measures.

While AI offers incredible possibilities for creative endeavors, such as enhancing visual effects or automating certain production processes, its unchecked proliferation threatens to undermine the very essence of human-driven storytelling. As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, the line between reality and virtuality blurs, raising ethical concerns about the authenticity of performances and the ownership of creative works.

Justine Bateman’s advocacy shines a spotlight on these pressing issues. With her dual background as a computer scientist and an actress, she brings a nuanced perspective that highlights the potential risks associated with the unregulated use of AI. Her call for iron-clad protections is a rallying cry for actors to take an active role in shaping the future of their profession.

In response to the concerns raised by Bateman and other industry professionals, the entertainment community must come together to chart a path forward. This involves engaging in open dialogue, fostering collaboration between stakeholders, and leveraging the expertise of organizations like the WGA and SAG-AFTRA to draft comprehensive guidelines that strike a balance between technological progress and the preservation of human creativity.

Moreover, it is imperative for lawmakers and policymakers to closely monitor the advancements in AI and enact legislation that addresses its impact on the entertainment industry. By establishing clear regulations and standards, the industry can navigate the AI revolution while safeguarding the rights and interests of its creative workforce.

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