Will AI Take Your Job and Eat Your Children?


The recent uproar over Disney’s new MCU show Secret Invasion centers on the studio choosing to use AI to create the opening credits. On its face, this isn’t a crazy idea – the show is about people being duplicated and replaced by alien doubles, and the not-quite-right versions of Sam Jackson and other characters shown in the opening credits play into that theme. Is it *good*? No, not really. But it at the very least makes some thematic sense.

The problem of course is that we’re smack in the middle of a writer’s strike in Hollywood, and one of the writers’ grievances is that there is currently nothing stopping studios from feeding any old movie idea into ChatGPT and having it spit out a no doubt awkward but also real, actual screenplay without spending a dime on a screenwriter.

So Disney’s choice to use AI instead of graphic designers and other artists is tone-deaf at best. The studio that built the sequence insists that many artists were still used in the process and that the AI didn’t take anyone’s job. That’s probably true, but it also misses the forest for the trees.

The issue is that we’re at an inflection point when it comes to technology, arguably the most important leap forward since the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution erased a whole subset of occupations (lamplighters, ice cutters, etc.), and the dawn of AI will likely erase another set. But AI can also birth a whole new field of work, and it can become a valuable tool, not a villain.

In the 2000s, lawmakers had no real understanding of social media and did a poor job regulating it. This has led to many of the problems we have today, from bots to nefarious influence campaigns, and Congress has still failed to get its arms around social networks. The writers – in demanding rules around AI – are not being paranoid. They’re being forward-thinking, and smartly demanding regulation so that a valuable tool doesn’t instead replace an industry to the detriment of film and television viewers everywhere. Our lawmakers would do well to follow their lead.

As a digital agency that does motion graphics and video editing, we can’t ignore AI. It’s the future whether we like it or not. So we choose to embrace it, while calling for common-sense guardrails that let us utilize it as a brilliant new tool in our toolbox, rather than letting it replace the work of talented artists, be they screenwriters or graphic designers.