Netflix has sparked an outcry by listing a vacancy for a new $900,000-a-year product manager role for their AI Machine Learning programme in the midst of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
- READ MORE: Why are actors striking in Hollywood?
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) union went on strike earlier this month, after negotiations broke down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over streaming residuals and safeguards against AI technology.
According to the job description, the Product Manager position will focus on “increasing the leverage of our Machine Learning Platform.” The MLP is Netflix’s in-house AI program, which has traditionally been used to power the streamer’s algorithmic recommendations. Per Netflix’s research page, the company is now making more use of the program to “optimise” film and TV production, although it’s not clear how they plan to do so.
We all know one of the biggest issues both of the striking guilds, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, have with AMPTP’s offer for a new contract is a lack of protection against and regulation of AI. But now it seems the studios are doubling down on their investment in AI.
The Intercept has reported that Netflix has posted a new Product Manager role for their AI Machine Learning Program — and it pays a whopping $900K.
According to the job description, the Product Manager position will focus on “increasing the leverage of our Machine Learning Platform.” The MLP is Netflix’s in-house AI program, which has traditionally been used to power the algorithmic recommendations of the company’s streaming service. According to a Netflix’s research page, the company is now making a larger effort to use the program to “optimize” film and TV production, although it’s not clear entirely how they plan on doing so.
“Historically, personalization has been the most well-known area, where machine learning powers our recommendation algorithms,” Netflix’s description of the MLP reads. “We’re also using machine learning to help shape our catalog of movies and TV shows by learning characteristics that make content successful. We use it to optimize the production of original movies and TV shows in Netflix’s rapidly growing studio.”
Ironically, this follows an episode of a Netflix original show, Black Mirror, that focuses on AI. The episode, ‘Joan Is Awful’, saw a streamer deliberately resembling Netflix use AI technology to use the digital likeness of Salma Hayek against her will.
“So $900k/yr per soldier in their godless AI army when that amount of earnings could qualify thirty-five actors and their families for SAG-AFTRA health insurance is just ghoulish,” actor Rob Delaney, who starred in the Black Mirror episode, told The Intercept. “Having been poor and rich in this business, I can assure you there’s enough money to go around; it’s just about priorities.”
The East division of the Writer’s Guild Of America condemned the move on Twitter, writing: “Seriously, Netflix?”
“The job listing indicates AI will be used to “create great content” and not just develop new algorithms…. The posting also alludes to integrating artificial intelligence in ‘all areas of the business.’” #WGAstrike https://t.co/pDBCZMjKoK
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) July 26, 2023
Joe Russo, meanwhile, remarked: “Netflix is willing to pay an AI plagiarist more than they were willing to buy our screenplay.”
Netflix is willing to pay an AI plagiarist more than they were willing to buy our screenplay. https://t.co/opZha0IEz5
— Joe Russo (@joerussotweets) July 27, 2023
pleading poverty while recruiting VERY (more than i’ve ever made in a year BY FAR) well-paid generals for your soulless army of silicon plagiarists is NOT A GOOD LOOK. they are in this to break us, and they don’t care who sees. we MUST BREAK THEM BACK. https://t.co/NxNKtd7NAa
— javier grillo-marxuach (@OKBJGM) July 26, 2023
this is deeply concerning.
I hope the dudes that claimed "this will help artists" finally wake up. And I hope they realize that it's purely capitalistic exploitation. https://t.co/unvG4ZYzli
— Natalie Dombois (@TaleOfAMonkey) July 26, 2023
. . . would it be worthwhile to . . . apply to this Netflix AI job posting and send them a resume that tells them to go to hell? Do it more than once? I mean, deeply hypothetically
— Meghan Wolff (@MegTheWolff) July 27, 2023
WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK?
— Jorge A. Reyes (@JorgeCoolReyes) July 26, 2023
Don't forget! When Netflix says they're hiring an "AI Product Manager," they're wanting to pay someone $900,000 USD per year to be an overseer of indentured servants in developing countries. https://t.co/7DPQeukprc pic.twitter.com/NIQu2KQaef
— Donna Dickens (Not Parody) (@MildlyAmused) July 26, 2023
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