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As AI continues to transform how virtually every industry conducts its business, Mehran Sahami, computer science professor and chair at Stanford University, predicts the growing technology will eventually translate into “some labor displacement” within entertainment companies.
“I do think we’re going to see some labor displacement in entertainment, as well,” Sahami said during an “AI Unleashed” panel at TheWrap’s annual conference TheGrill.
“It’s true that human creativity is not replaceable in some sense, but human creativity can be augmented [through] a small group of people who are given a larger set of ideas to work with,” he said. “That comes back to the question of: Is that sufficient? Does that mean we don’t need a larger group of creative people?”
Sahami also noted that displacement of labor will be “uneven” across industries as key leaders mull over how to most productively utilize artificial intelligence to enhance their business strategy.
“What are you going to do if all of your programmers now [perform] 30% more efficient?” the AI expert posed. “Do you hire the same number [of employees] and have 30% more products, more features? Or do you hire 30% less programmers? That question is not yet fully answered by the folks who are making the decisions.”
For fellow panelist Daniela Rus, who serves as director for MIT’s computer science and AI laboratory, the technology is capable of providing benefits to businesses and their workers, but won’t be able to capture the full spectrum of human creativity.
“Will AI take over your job? Well, AI is good at some tasks, but it is not good at jobs,” Rus said during the panel. “You can think of AI, especially the language components and the computer vision components, as providing new capabilities that empower you to do more, but in terms of dominating the human creativity, we are not there.”
Still, Rus admitted AI can equally be used to “empower supervillains,” leading the duo — as well as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman — to advocate for guardrails to be put in place by way of governmental regulation.
“There is a very delicate balance between regulating something really hard and stifling innovation, or enabling innovation,” said Rus, who serves as one of the U.S. representatives in a group titled Global Partnerships in AI. “I think it’s important to find a good balance that allows innovation to continue, that allows the discovery to continue.”
With the U.S. serving as global leaders in the technology’s development and utilization, Rus warned that overregulation may prompt the country to lose its edge as a leader in the space. However, Rus noted it is essential that deployments using AI must be safe, especially when performing safety critical tasks.
“I don’t really mind if my AI system is not fully tested, or making mistakes, if the task is to to label my vacation photos, but if the task is to do something like deciding who gets hired in the company, or who gets convicted, then we really have to be thoughtful,” Rus said.
About TheGrill: For more than a decade, TheGrill event series has led the conversation on the convergence of entertainment, media and technology, bringing together newsmakers to debate the challenges of and opportunities for making content in the digital age. TheGrill delivers a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels and networking activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape.
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