Sean Penn comes in support of writers' strike, calls use of UI ‘human obscenity’ | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Actor Sean Penn comes in support of writers' strike at Cannes film Festival, calls use of UI ‘human obscenity’

Reuters | ByPaurush Omar
May 20, 2023 12:22 PM IST

During the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, Penn voiced his concerns about the resistance faced by writers who seek to incorporate AI into the creative process

In a fiery statement at the Cannes Film Festival, actor Sean Penn expressed his support for striking Hollywood writers and condemned studios' refusal to limit the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in scriptwriting as a "human obscenity."

US actor Sean Penn attends a press conference for the film "Black Flies" during the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.(AFP)
US actor Sean Penn attends a press conference for the film "Black Flies" during the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.(AFP)

During a press conference, Penn voiced his concerns about the growing use of AI in the industry, stating, "There are a lot of new concepts that are being tossed about, you know, including the use of AI. And this just strikes me as a kind of human obscenity, for there to be any pushback on that from the producers."

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The dispute over AI has been a major factor leading to the first work stoppage by Hollywood's film and TV writers in 15 years. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been advocating for restrictions on AI in scriptwriting.

However, Hollywood studios, grappling with the challenges of profitability in the streaming era and declining ad revenues, have rejected the idea, suggesting that they would be willing to discuss new technologies only once a year, according to the guild.

Penn expressed empathy for the striking writers and the impact the situation has on the industry, saying, "It's difficult... for so many people, so many writers, and so many people in the industry, to not be able to work during this time. And I guess it's gonna soul-search itself and see which side toughs it out."

While Penn's passionate stance on the AI issue captured attention, it is worth noting that he is at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the competition film "Black Flies," a gritty New York City drama about paramedics, in which he stars alongside Tye Sheridan.

Apart from his acting career, Penn is renowned for his political and social activism. He co-directed "Superpower," a feature-length profile of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, filmed before and after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The documentary premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, showcasing Penn's commitment to shedding light on critical global issues.

Also read | ‘What would Larry David do?’ Here are most creative picket signs from WGA strike

As the strike continues and tensions rise over the use of AI in scriptwriting, it remains to be seen how the industry will navigate this dispute and find a resolution that satisfies both the writers and the studios.

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