‘Everyone Should Be Scared of AI’: As the Writers Strike Stokes Tech Debate, MCU Filmmaker Joe Russo Issues Warning

Joe Russo is sounding the alarm about artificial intelligence.

Six days before the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called for a strike, I spoke to Joe Russo at the Los Angeles premiere of “Citadel” about his concerns regarding AI. The use of AI has become a major point of contention between the guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTA). “I think everyone should be scared of AI,” Russo said. “I don’t know if you’ve heard any of the Drake ‘songs’ that have been dropping on social media, but it’s here. It’s not going anywhere.”

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The “Avengers” director said in order for AI to work, it must be a “tool servicing us rather than us servicing the tool.”

“When the creatives are engaged and the creatives are spearheading the use of technology — look at James Cameron’s entire career — that technology ends up in service of artists rather than vice versa,” the filmmaker and producer, who is on the board of a few AI companies, continued. “If corporations drive the adoption of that technology, it might be a different story.”

During contract negotiations, the WGA proposed that AI cannot be considered “literary material” or “source material” under its new contract with the AMPTP. In turn, this would not affect writers’ compensation for screenwriting. The WGA balked at the AMPTP’s proposal to meet annually to discuss AI issues.

The writers strike began May 2 after the APMTP ended contract talks with the WGA just hours before contract expiration deadline.

Judd Apatow told Variety Saturday that he believes the studios may not want to end the strike so quickly.

“I think they probably already know what they’re going to bend on,” Apatow said Saturday at the Rock4EB benefit in Malibu. “I would assume they already know what date this is going to end. They’ve probably been planning this for years.”

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