IATSE Unveils Its Core Principles for AI and Machine Learning

IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, has adopted what it is calling “Core Principles for Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technology” in the entertainment industry. Unveiled last week, the document follows the May creation of the group’s Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The activity is meant to convey a proactive approach to the challenges and opportunities ahead. “With AI, the stakes for IATSE members in all crafts is high,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “There is much work to do, but I am pleased to report the union’s efforts are already well underway.”

“Our approach as a union must be comprehensive, focused on research, collaboration, education, political and legislative advocacy, organizing, and collective bargaining,” the document reads.

As part of the initiative, “IATSE will also urgently identify which crafts and local unions are most at-risk of being affected in the immediate future.”

Lauding the skills and adaptive abilities of IATSE members, the Core Principles attest the group has “developed many of the tools and techniques that have pushed entertainment forward for the last 130 years” and will continue to “embrace new technologies and tackle [AI] head on.”

“The statement comes at a time when AI remains an important topic in SAG-AFTRA and WGA negotiations,” writes Variety.

Among the key areas of focus for IATSE are:

  • Research: Identifying the crafts and local unions most at-risk of job displacement by AI.
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders: The Commission on AI will include “members and representatives at all levels, as well as external experts” to inform IATSE’s approach.
  • Education: Ensuring that “members have the right to receive adequate training and upskilling.”
  • Maintaining Workers’ Rights: Including job security and union jurisdiction.
  • Organizing: Reaching out an attempt at “organizing entertainment workers in new related job classifications.”

Last month, IATSE Political & Legislative Director Tyler McIntosh was among those who met with senior Biden-Harris administration officials and labor leaders to discuss AI’s impact on “workers, unions, the quality of jobs, and the future of work,” IATSE said in a press release announcing the Core Principles.

A readout of the White House listening session says the union leaders raised “concerns about the risks of AI for workers’ jobs, physical and mental health, and privacy and civil rights.”

“Additionally, the IATSE Education and Training Department released a LinkedIn Learning Path to provide IATSE workers with information regarding the fundamentals of current artificial intelligence technologies to better understand how these technologies could affect the labor movement, the entertainment industry, and the workers the union represents,” Variety reports, adding that “the IATSE Training Trust Fund provides members with free LinkedIn Learning accounts.”

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