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Commentary: Hollywood strike shows workers could be the ones to regulate AI

NEW YORK: The debate about who should regulate artificial intelligence has been very top down. Tech titans say they want elected officials to set limits. But Washington had a hard enough time keeping up with targeted advertising and surveillance capitalism.

Individual US states have AI regulatory proposals – often corresponding to the big industrial use cases in their areas. European and Chinese authorities are working on ideas, too.

Nobody fully understands the capacities of the new technology, though, which makes it difficult to find the perfect, purpose-built solution.

But one group has just made big progress on constructing some new guard rails – the Writers Guild of America, which represents those striking Hollywood writers who just cut a deal to go back to work. Along with higher wages and residuals and staff minimums, the writers got something arguably even more important: New rules around how the entertainment industry can, and can’t, use AI.

The rules apply to any project using union writers, who get to decide whether they want to use AI in writing or not. Studios also have to disclose to writers if any of the materials given to them were generated by AI – which can’t be used to undermine a writer’s own intellectual property.

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