Fran Drescher Warns ‘AI Will Trap Us in a Matrix’ in SAG Awards Speech

“If an inventor lacks empathy and spirituality, perhaps that’s not the invention we need,” SAG-AFTRA president said

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 24: Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, speaks onstage during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on February 24, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher took to the stage at the SAG Awards on Saturday to thank the members of the actors guild for their sacrifice during last year’s 118-day strike and to warn of the challenges ahead.

“I hold you all with the highest esteem and greatest respect, for you are the champion,” Drescher told members. “You survived the longest strike in our union’s history with courage and conviction. That journey was arduous. It came with great sacrifice and unrelenting stress. Your collective dignity and perseverance to stand up and say, ‘We deserve better because we are better,’ resulted in an historic billion-dollar deal.”

While Drescher celebrated the new TV/Theatrical contract, which was ratified this past December with 78% of voting members approving, the president and star of “The Nanny” also tackled the “global ideas” that arose during and after the strike, most notably the ongoing promises and threats artificial intelligence bring to the entertainment industry.

In her speech, Drescher fired a shot at tech companies that are developing software like OpenAI’s Sora, accusing them of ignoring the human element of creativity.

“AI will entrap us in a matrix where none of us know what’s real. If an inventor lacks empathy and spirituality, perhaps that’s not the invention we need,” Drescher said.

Drescher also touched on the topic of female leadership, the importance of which she regularly espoused throughout the strike as she became one of its prominent faces alongside WGA West President Meredith Stiehm and WGA East President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen.

“What does female leadership look like for women and girls?” Drescher asked. “We don’t have to emulate male energy but rather lead with intellect, compassion, wisdom and still rock a red lip!”

While SAG-AFTRA’s strike has ended, Hollywood Labor will play a major role in the months ahead as other unions like IATSE, Teamsters Local 399 and The Animation Guild are all set to negotiate their contracts with Hollywood studios starting next month, when negotiations will begin on the terms of the Motion Picture Industry and Pension Health Plan.


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