Many members of the workforce depend on human interaction to advance their careers, including actors in a casting office. However, some stars are expressing concern that their performances are being determined by artificial intelligence.
‘Veronica Mars’ actress Charisma Carpenter is sounding the alarm over the infiltration of AI into the entertainment industry as SAG-AFTRA members join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to hit Hollywood. AI is one of the contentious issues that led to the strike.
After receiving an email inviting her to join the 100 Actors Program, an opportunity organized by Swiss company Largo.ai, Charisma took to Instagram to share her concern.
In response to his post, other actors expressed concern about potential disruption to the traditional casting process.
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“Welp, AI is also coming for Casting Directors, Agents and Managers. Considered ‘middlemen.’ AI protections at all levels,” Carpenter wrote on Instagram.
On its website, Largo.ai says it’s “designed to empower traditional content creation workflows and help producers, distributors, and studios make smarter, more informed decisions.”
“Charisma Carpenter has never seen our platform and we haven’t had any discussions with her,” CEO Sami Arpa told Fox News Digital. “She criticized one of the promotional emails she received from one of our team members. I’m sure if she sees our platform and understands what we’re doing, she’ll think differently. We told her Asked to chat, but we didn’t. Haven’t heard back so far.
“It’s seen by casting directors as if we want to take them out of the game. We’ve designed the platform for use by actors, casting directors and talent agencies. It’s the decision of the actor to work directly on the platform or through agencies.
Fox News Digital has reached out to a representative for Carpenter for comment.
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Arpa also noted in a separate statement that the company “fully supports the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike” and that its AI tool was “developed to empower and support creators through the power of technology and not to use AI to replace anyone”. He explained that the cast schedule, which is still in the “beta process,” has caused “some misinterpretation within the acting community.”
“We will use this as a learning tool for growth. Our mission is to provide more access and create employment opportunities for both actors and are not involved in the creation of Deepfake or any unauthorized use of actors’ performances or voices. Our AI tools are totally different here,” he noted. “Our platform is dedicated to empowering actors, improving visibility and integrating AI into the preliminary casting process.”
Stars including “Yellowjackets” actress Melanie Lynskey have expressed mutual disdain for the new technology, writing in the comments to Carpenter’s post, “Having ‘middlemen’ who believe in you and think of you for these roles that might not feel 100% to you, but they know you can do it, that’s how an actor builds a career. It’s crazy.”
‘The Lake’ actor Jordan Gavaris shared his outrage, writing, “This is absolute madness. The only reason I ever got a job is because the cast defended for amorphous reasons. AI will never be a fan.”
In its statement, Arpa encouraged “actors and members of the industry to reach out to us, share their views and engage in open dialogue.”
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“There are claims that suggest our goal is to replace all industry professionals with automation,” Arpa added. “However, one has to wonder who our clients would be then? In reality, we actively collaborate with industry professionals such as producers, distributors, studios and actors.
“In addition, we are keen to partner with casting directors and talent agencies. Our goal is to integrate the tools into their work, enhancing their capabilities with innovative technology. “AI can help us collectively improve the industry together and create many more job opportunities. Our system diversifies opportunities beyond industry averages, often uncovers lesser-known talent, creating opportunities for those that might otherwise be overlooked.
Abe Lichy, partner and chair of the intellectual property practice at McLaughlin & Stern, outlined general concerns with this new type of tool.
“There could be legal implications involving alleged errors and omissions in certain actors’ AI recommendations. While a human considers an actor’s full backstory and history and performs a subjective analysis, the AI only processes previously existing content. What happens if an actor is recommended by an AI who recommends an actor who is unprofessional and tends to be unprofessional” , wondered Lichy.
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“It’s something a human casting director would be in a much better position to find out before making a recommendation. Now the studio is stuck with someone not doing their job properly due to the inability to an AI to point out this kind of human element. The more important question is, if a ‘business’ can be defined as a ‘person’, when does an AI share that definition?”
In separate comments to Deadline, Carpenter echoed those sentiments, saying “AI is not a belief system.”
“They can take data and stats and spit out a formula that says that person is right for that part, but there’s no forethought. … The AI don’t know me, they don’t know the wealth of my soul. They don’t know. Know my life experiences. They don’t know the books I’ve read. They’ve never had these conversations with me to glean how right I am for a part that the data may not have predicted.
“I had wonderful casting directors who kept me coming back time and time again to get me a job,” Carpenter said. “I really struggle to see what the benefit is for actors going this route.”
Lichy says there are steps those in Hollywood can take to protect themselves from this type of AI.
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“There is no realistic way to outright ban its use,” Lichy said. “However, there are ways for actors and industry stakeholders to protect themselves and mitigate the risk. SAG-AFTRA, for example, could protect Hollywood projects, casting directors, actors, etc. amount of use of human casting directors.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think AI can replace the human qualities required for effective casting. Films are an art form, and the actors who bring scripts to life are best cast when the full actor is taken into account various roles.”
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Before SAG-AFTRA joined the strike, former actress-turned-producer Justine Bateman also told Fox News Digital why she thinks AI is damaging the entertainment industry.
“Using AI makes me sad because I feel like it’s…taking me away from being human,” she explained. “But we’ve done a lot of that, haven’t we? Plastic surgery. Filters. Doing things on Zoom rather than in person. But the idea that someone would use AI to replace human expression , I think, is the saddest thing for me.”