Netflix, AI, and the $900,000 job:
The future of work

Article - General
By Alex Wood|10th August 2023

In brief:

  • Hollywood actors on strike for fair compensation and AI protections
  • Netflix advertising high-paying AI-related job vacancies amid industry changes
  • Concerns about AI adoption and the potential impact on industries and human employees

As Hollywood’s leading actors strike for the first time since 1960 over fair compensation and protections from the rise of artificial intelligence, Netflix has advertised a job vacancy for a machine learning product manager that will pay an annual salary of up to $900,000 a year.

According to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), 87% of the guild’s actors make less than $26,000 per year. The use of AI, meanwhile, has been a major sticking point in the negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and Sag and the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Why is this role so contentious? Well, in short, it’s not – it’s what the role represents. It is not the only AI position Netflix is recruiting for. The streaming giant is also on the lookout for a new technical director to oversee generative AI at its gaming studio (for which the appointed individual will be paid up to $650,000). Disney has also listed several machine learning-related roles in recent months, though it has not specified the salary range.

AI will “shape our catalog” – Netflix

The point is AI is changing the way we work, and companies are seemingly prepared to pay big money to ensure they have people who know how to use it. In this case, Netflix says it will use AI to “shape our catalog of movies and TV shows by learning characteristics that make content successful” and “optimize the production of original movies and TV shows”.

It is safe to assume Netflix is not alone in this venture. Experts have predicted every industry will be affected by AI in the future. Take healthcare as an example. In May, Anthony Luttenberger, SVP of Life Sciences at Biofourmis, spoke at GDS Group’s annual Life Sciences Summit. He warned: “There’s this fear that AI and machine learning is going to replace everybody. The truth is AI won’t replace you – those who learn to embrace AI will.

“It’s a big statement…but be open to learn and get better every day.”

Arguably the biggest concern about AI is the pace with which it has been adopted. Some companies – like Netflix and Disney – are already embracing the technology while others are still figuring out how to use it. In the case of Hollywood and its striking actors, there is real concern that AI will be used to scan performers, pay for them a day’s work, and then use their images on future projects.

Adam Gorski, who is a leader in this space and currently holds the title of SVP and Global Chief Information Officer at ContourGlobal, delivered a keynote presentation on the future of AI at a GDS Data & Analytics Summit last year.

As part of his keynote, he suggested the following predictions:

By 2023:

  • Blockchain will go mainstream
  • Brain implants and nanobots will restore memory loss
  • Metaverse will become a reality
  • Tesla model valued at $25,000

By 2024:

  • Open-source 3D printed clothes at very low prices
  • Human-led mission to Mars
  • Autonomous vehicles will go mainstream
  • Useful human-like robots

By 2025:

  • All TV is Internet-based
  • 3D printed human organs
  • AI approaching human-level intelligence
  • Electric jets (cargo first and then commercial)

“These are not my predictions,” he said. “I’m just the messenger!

“People greatly overestimate what they can get done in 12 months and greatly underestimate what they can get done in the long-term because short-term there is a limited number of people. But long-term, there is a lot of brains put together and people can move the needle significantly.

“Companies don’t exist for things; they exist because of people.”
Adam Gorski, SVP and Global Chief Information Officer – ContourGlobal

When asked if AI will ultimately replace the need for human employees, Adam responded: “Companies don’t exist for things, they exist because of people. The human has to be right at the center of it and I don’t think supercomputers will take over the world – they will help us to make life better on Earth and maybe other planets.

“Everything starts with a person and ends with a person. We don’t do things for things; we do things for people and that has been the way for thousands of years.”

And long may it continue, not least because AI could never direct a film like Martin Scorsese, act like Meryl Streep or create a show as gripping as Squid Games.

To get more insights into the ethics of AI sign up to GDS Explore to read our exclusive article ‘Responsible use of AI is not just a nice to have – it’s essential’.

Looking for ways to accelerate your sales cycles, engage in industry conversations, and achieve better outcomes? Look no further than our digital summits – our unique 3-day digital event experiences that bring together senior executives and solution providers.

Our recent Data & Analytics North America Summit ended with an impressive average content attendance of 95% and a meeting completion rate of 115% against target.

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Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend one of our unforgettable event experiences that promise to leave you feeling inspired and empowered.

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