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After seeing OpenAI's Sora, Tyler Perry says jobs are going to be lost


A short video is making the rounds of Hollywood. There is nothing scary about the images - no zombies or creepy space creatures. No, we're talking cute animals, beautiful scenery and paper airplanes flying through a jungle. But many in the entertainment world still find it terrifying. Why? Two words - artificial intelligence.

Here to talk more about this is Alex Weprin. He is a media and business writer at The Hollywood Reporter. Good morning.

ALEX WEPRIN: Good morning.

MARTIN: So I'm hearing this has become a must-watch among film-industry types - true?

WEPRIN: Absolutely. Everyone in Hollywood is watching the Sora video-generating software very closely.

MARTIN: Now, Tyler Perry says he was so astounded by what he saw that he's hit the brakes on an $800 million studio expansion in Atlanta. He told The Hollywood Reporter, your publication, the technology is mind-blowing. And he warned that, without regulation, the industry may not survive. Now, that is pretty strong - that's a pretty strong statement. So, you know - but it's not like AI is exactly new, so why so much concern now?

WEPRIN: You know, I think the issue is that, while Hollywood has actually been using AI for some time - mostly in the special effects and visual effects areas - the new technology we're seeing, like Sora, the text-to-video software, the photo-generation software - it's such a big leap from what was used previously that I think a lot of big studios and also independent producers like Perry are realizing just how fast it's going to come for some of the traditional Hollywood jobs - the people they employ. Perry himself said that, in an upcoming film, he used AI to kind of age himself instead of sitting in the makeup chair for hours. So it's already being used today, and I think it's becoming clear just how impactful it's going to be.

MARTIN: Are other entertainment companies considering any changes in response to this latest version of AI? Are they saying things, like, similar to what Perry is saying?

WEPRIN: No one is saying anything publicly, but we do know that they are experimenting with it privately. And again, because it's already used in visual effects, you know, the software is already kind of in the hands of any of the executives and employees on the studio lot. But I do know - and, you know, my colleagues and I, when we speak to executives in Hollywood and producers, they are all playing around with this technology and figuring out how they can use it, even though I think they know that it's going to mean job losses over time.

MARTIN: Does OpenAI have an answer for critics or observers who see this tech as an existential threat to the entertainment industry and, also, you'd have to say, the cities like Los Angeles that depend on it - or perhaps in Atlanta, like the people that Tyler Perry employs?

WEPRIN: You know, companies like OpenAI and Google, which has its own Gemini AI system - you know, they really focus on the positives, and there are positives. You know, this could allow independent producers or, you know, creators, like, on YouTube to, you know, create movies or TV shows or content that they would never be able to do otherwise. So that's the double-edged sword here. It's going to cause issues for people with certain jobs at legacy studios, and it will provide opportunities for independent creators who just wouldn't have the budget or the means to create certain types of content before. And I think that's where a lot of the AI companies are focusing their efforts on.

MARTIN: So are they basically kind of forgiving or just ignoring the job-loss aspect and more sort of focusing on the opportunity?

WEPRIN: Yeah. I mean, if you've listened to interviews with Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, he certainly is aware of the impact to jobs, and he will say that when asked about it. But I think they are trying to focus on the positive and ways that the technology can help people and improve their lives - and, in the case of studios, how they can save some money.

MARTIN: That's Alex Weprin. He writes about media and business for The Hollywood Reporter. Alex, thank you.

WEPRIN: Thank you.

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