Film and TV studios are posting AI jobs with salaries of up to $1m as workers strike


Film and TV studios are trying to hire people with AI expertise, even as their writers and actors are on strike over the industry’s plans for AI and other concerns.

Six entertainment companies, including Disney, Netflix, Sony and NBCUniversal, have posted at least 26 AI-related jobs in recent weeks, according to NBC News’ search of online job listings. The job listings say companies are looking to pay many potential software developers more than $200,000 a year, and in some cases much more. (NBC Universal is the parent company of NBC News.)

Streaming company Netflix has announced 18 jobs related to artificial intelligence or machine learning, according to research on the company’s career site. One position will pay up to $1 million to develop video games based on recent advances in artificial intelligence, says the ad. The company’s careers page does not say how long ago the jobs were listed.

A job site search turned up eight open AI-related jobs at more traditional media companies.

Two major unions representing actors and writers have gone on strike after failed contract negotiations with studios on a range of issues, including wages and the use of artificial intelligence.

The 26 AI-related job opportunities NBC News saw vary widely in how they relate to content creation, which has been a primary concern in discussions of how AI will affect the livelihoods of creative professionals. Some editorials focus on the backend of specific products, such as using artificial intelligence to personalize search results, while other positions relate more directly to content creation or support for others who may be creating the content.

Even for AI jobs that aren’t directly related to content creation, job openings are one indicator of where production companies are putting their resources. As live broadcasters and creative companies face a labor crisis, they are actively looking for AI specialists – and they’re willing to pay them high salaries.

Many of the job openings point to duties such as building an artificial intelligence platform or innovation lab, suggesting that companies are building for the long term rather than looking for immediate replacements for striking workers.

Using artificial intelligence to create content is a major sticking point For striking writers and actors. Union leaders say digital actors created by AI threaten to one day take work from their members, and some creators include Sarah Silverman. Already claiming in lawsuits That tech companies use their words or something like that to train AI alternatives.

Fran Drescher, president of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has called AI “poison”.

“When you have a combination of Wall Street, greed, technology, and smart kids that I don’t see embodying a great deal of empathy — it’s a lethal cocktail, in my opinion, and I don’t want us to have to drink that poison anymore,” she said on the July 28 episode of the podcast. to union.

“Everyone watches Dystopia as a form of entertainment, while my members live it,” Drescher said.

In contract negotiations, SAG-AFTRA requires compensation for performers who contribute to AI products, and AI companies require prior approval.

Broadcasting company Sinclair is looking for someone to head up its AI content effort. get famous Conservative-leaning local newsSinclair also owns other media properties and says it needs an AI director for its innovation lab. Although the company is based in the suburbs of Baltimore, the job will be based in Los Angeles. according to the list.

“You will be at the helm of developing and implementing generative AI solutions across our organization,” the ad says. The base salary is listed at up to $175,000 annually.

Generative AI involves content creation and took off in the past year, thanks to the viral success of applications such as image generators, such as DALL E 2, and chatbots, such as ChatGPT. Some analysts believe that generative AI is just beginning to shape the entertainment industry and how people spend their free time.

A Sinclair spokesperson said no one was immediately available for an interview or comment.

A spokesman for the Writers Guild of America West, which represents prominent Hollywood writers, declined to comment on job vacancies in the field of artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Intercept news site mentioned Last month, Netflix offered up to $900,000 per year for a single AI product manager. The job will involve overseeing an internal platform used by AI software developers, according to an analyst Archived copy of the job advertisement.

Another position is for an engineering director at Netflix that will pay up to $900,000 a year to oversee how the service uses artificial intelligence to keep customers happy. says the ad.

“Machine learning/artificial intelligence powers many aspects of the consumer experience, including innovation in content discovery and personalization for members, identifying and attracting new members to our product, improving our payment processing, and much more,” according to the listing.

Other Netflix jobs included those where potential employees would use machine learning to personalize viewer recommendations, or to support back-end cloud computing technology.

“We free Netflix engineers from the complexity of developing modern software, allowing them to focus on creating world-class entertainment,” says an ad for Netflix’s internal engineering platform manager. the existing He says the total compensation for the role would typically be between $330,000 and $1.8 million, the highest-paid of all the AI ​​ads NBC News found.

A spokesperson for Netflix, which is based near San Jose, California, declined to comment except to cite a May statement from the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, an industry trade group for the studios. (NBC Universal is a member of the alliance.)

The industry group said at the time: “AI raises difficult and important creative and legal questions for everyone. For example, writers want to be able to use this technology as part of their creative process, without changing how credits are determined, which is complex given that AI material It can’t be copyrighted. So, it’s something that needs a lot of discussion, which we’ve committed to.”

Hollywood studios have been cautious about their strategies for generative AI. Disney CEO Bob Iger has spoken Using artificial intelligence to create efficiencies Technology called Destroyer But he did not give details.

Actor Bryan Cranston said he had a “message for Mr. Iger” at a rally in New York last month When the “Breaking Bad” star vowed.“Our jobs will not be taken and given to robots.”

Disney announced four AI-related jobs, according to the listings. Among them is the San Francisco-based Senior Director of Machine Learning Engineering, who leads a team “to build a real-time event-driven machine learning system;” Senior Vice President, Post Production and Innovation with responsibilities that include “being at the forefront of technological developments, such as artificial intelligence”; A machine learning engineer based in San Francisco, and a data scientist in Santa Monica, California, working in machine learning and advertising.

Overall, Disney and its affiliates listed 367 technology-related job openings on LinkedIn, according to research on the site Monday.

Disney did not respond to requests for comment on the job openings.

Sony is hiring a Senior Research Scientist and Director to focus on AI ethics in Sony’s AI division. Created in 2020, the division is, according to the job posting, “a research organization pursuing the mission of using artificial intelligence to unleash human creativity,” and works closely with other divisions of the company, including film studio Sony Pictures.

“Sony has many real-world applications of artificial intelligence at the intersection of entertainment and technology, and we are looking for smart, passionate people who want to research, develop and deploy FTA technologies,” the ad reads. The FTA refers to fairness, transparency and accountability, which are three areas Sony says it wants to look into.

A Sony spokesperson said in an email: “This is not a job for the entertainment company. Sony AI, which was established 3 years ago, is operated from our corporate headquarters in Japan. The AI ​​Ethics Office operates within Sony AI.

Sony says it is working on a range of applications for artificial intelligence, including a digital race car driver called Sufi For the Gran Turismo video game franchise and potential Automated assistant chefs.

NBCUniversal announced the position of Vice President responsible for product, customization, and research. Listed responsibilities include using machine learning To build recommendation and personalization systems.

An NBCUniversal spokesperson said the role is focused on improving customer recommendations and has nothing to do with content creation.

Warner Bros. had. Discovery 1 listing for an AI-related job: Senior Software Engineer based in San Francisco to work on AI-driven recommendations and personalization features for the Max app, formerly HBO Max.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson declined. Discovery Commentary.

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