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​Screengrab from 'BoJack Horseman,' Netflix.
Screengrab from 'BoJack Horseman,' Netflix.

‘BoJack Horseman’ Was Right — Hollywood Wants to Replace Some Actors With AI

A proposal to “protect actors’ digital likenesses” from AI replication have surfaced as part of negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Screen Actors Guild, and BoJack Horseman fans are seeing an uncanny resemblance to a storyline from the show.

BoJack Horseman might have predicted Hollywood’s tech-driven future. A scene from the former Netflix animated series has gone viral, showing the anthropomorphic horse getting scanned so that when he ‘dies,’ someone can replace him as a deepfake. The clip is timely, as some Hollywood studios are strategizing a plan that could change the film and television industry for good.

On Thursday (July 13), in response to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) shared “a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members.” The proposal would have required that background actors give their consent to having their image used by artificial intelligence. When pushed about the proposal during the SAG-AFTRA press conference, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, explained more, saying that for now, it will only affect background actors.

“This ‘groundbreaking’ AI proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation. So if you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again,” said Crabtree-Ireland.

Although AMPTP spokesperson Scott Rowe issued a statement denying Crabtree-Ireland’s claims, the topic of artificial intelligence in entertainment continues to blur lines amid the WGA strike. The aI-generated likenesses of actors, whether background or prominent, can rid the jobs of many creators in the film industry, including editors, music composers, assistants, screenwriters and producers.

In the BoJack storyline, Hollywoo (sic) executive Lenny Turtletaub tells BoJack, "One day that's gonna be the actor's whole job. Just sitting in a room for five seconds while a machine scans his face and then six months later plugging the movie on Kimel."