Entertainment giant Walt Disney has launched a task force to study artificial intelligence and explore ways it can use the technology within its mass media conglomerate.
This move comes amidst ongoing debates within Hollywood, where writers and actors are striking collectively to curb the industry’s potential misuse of AI technology. According to Reuters, Disney launched its AI task force earlier this year before the strikes commenced. The mission of this group is to develop in-house AI applications and build partnerships with startups.
Disney currently has 11 available job positions aimed at finding individuals skilled in artificial intelligence or machine learning. These job positions span various sectors, including Walt Disney Studios, theme parks, the engineering group (Walt Disney Imagineering), Disney-branded TV and the advertising team. The advertising team is specifically looking for people to create a ‘Next-generation’ AI-powered ad system.
Is Disney using AI to keep up?
One source who spoke to Reuters anonymously mentioned that traditional media companies such as Disney need to grasp AI or face the possibility of becoming obsolete. This person believes that AI could help control the high costs of making movies and TV shows. Big films like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny or The Little Mermaid can cost up to $300 million to make and they’ll need to earn a lot at the box office just to cover expenses. The person adds that AI could save money over time.
AI has the potential to improve customer support and bring new kinds of experiences to Disney’s parks, according to another source and a former Disney Imagineer. The former Imagineer preferred not to be named since he wasn’t allowed to speak publicly.
The ex-Imagineer referred to Project Kiwi as an example. This project utilised machine-learning methods to develop Baby Groot, a small robot that moves around freely and imitates the actions and personality of the popular Guardians of the Galaxy character.
AI has caused a lot of tension in Hollywood, as writers and actors worry it could take away their jobs. This is a big topic in talks between the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America and the companies, and it’s one of the main reasons they’re on strike.