‘AI On The Lot’ Attendees Examine the Impact of New Technology and Tools on Entertainment Industry Jobs

There’s been plenty of concern about the potential for AI to replace artists and human creativity, but during his keynote at the May 16 AI On The Lot event in downtown Los Angeles, Renard Jenkins politely reminded attendees that AI could affect most any job, including those of CFOs to CEOs.

“I would simply suggest that if you give me 10 years of your financial performances [and additional data] I can design a CFO,” Jenkins, who is president and CEO of software development and consulting firm I2A2, said. “I can build an algorithm that can make Wall Street happier than a CEO [could].”

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But the exec, who is also president of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and a Warner Bros. alum, was not suggesting that humans are not essential. He emphasized that he hopes AI education will “take away fear” and present possibilities offered by the tech, which he views as a tool. “This is nothing more than mathematics, probability and statistics,” he said. “Don’t think about this as a replacement; think about it as enhancement.

“The human being has to remain as part of the process,” he asserted. “The actions that you put into these systems, that what’s really important.”

During his keynote, Jenkins said that he would not proclaim the use of AI as a way to save money, but rather, as a way to save time. Time, he noted, often brings with it better results.

In its second year, AI On The Lot reported 850 registered attendees. Attendees ranged from Hollywood studios representatives to tech developers to filmmakers, both established and those hoping to make their mark as part of the next generation of storytellers.

In related AI news, Thursday also was the final scheduled day of bargaining between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which concluded without a deal for a new Basic Agreement. Artifical intelligence guardrails are a major issue in these negotiations, along with topics such as the funding of IATSE’s benefits plans.

Bargaining on the Area Standards Agreement is scheduled to begin on Monday and IATSE said Basic Agreement negotiations are expected to resume in June. The three-year contract is set to expire July 31.

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