TV & MOVIE WRITERS WANT CLEAR RULES ON AI
In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the Hollywood writers’ strikes. Normally, these WGA strikes are about pay conditions, but this time around the protestors also want bosses to have clear rules on the use of AI in the writers’ room. Seemingly knowing the potential of AI to cut costs, the studio execs don’t seem to be budging. Is there a resolution to a strike that could have repercussions that go beyond how your favorite movie and TV shows are created? In other news this week, we look at Google’s passkey roll-out, signaling the end of the password in the near future. We also have a look at some of the 53 new features and changes to Airbnb, which were highlighted by its CEO in a Twitter mega-thread this week. Our Stat of the Week looks at Bitcoin’s congestion problems, as NFTs uploaded to the network have caused a massive backlog in transactions. And What’s dAppening looks at Sports Illustrated’s NFT event marketplace and the future of ticketing on the blockchain.
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🤖✍️ AI – Hollywood Writers’ Strike Is About More Than Just Pay Conditions
You’ve probably seen the news covering the strikes of thousands of movie and television screenwriters backed by the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA). The strikes could delay the production of 100s of movies and tv shows until a resolution is reached, but remuneration is not the only topic on the agenda, and the sticking point looks like it will be tougher to overcome than raising writers’ rates. The WGA is also demanding that networks clarify and regulate the use of AI in the writers’ room. The debate is a bit more nuanced than asking for a complete ban on AI. In fact, some writers have claimed a ChatGPT-like AI could be useful for brainstorming sessions, refining ideas, etc. Much of the argument centers around crediting of work; writers don’t want studios to force them to use AI, then have their names attached to the production, nor do they want their own work to be rewritten by AI. As such, they don’t want the output of the AI considered as “literary material”. Moreover, the WGA has stated that it doesn’t want AI models to be trained on its writers’ output. In a nutshell, the WGA is open to using AI in the writers’ room, but it doesn’t want to facilitate the replacement of writers by bots. The network and studio bosses are understandably trying not to get locked down into legal agreements, offering instead annual meetings to discuss “technological advancements”. All of it throws up other dilemmas – who owns the copyright of an AI-written screenplay? We touched on this recently when reporting on Grimes and AI-produced music. The technology is being adopted faster than the rules that govern it. But this is a pressing issue in Hollywood. Some have cited the bursting of the streaming bubble, with budgets now tighter than ever before. AI is appealing as a cost-cutting measure. In the history of labor disputes, the worker has usually had the upper hand because the product doesn’t get made without them. AI isn’t ready to write the next season of Succession or Stranger Things yet, but the studio bosses know it soon could be capable of doing so at a fraction of the cost of a writing team. #AIStrike Read more here.
🔏📱 Google – Passkey Roll-Out For Accounts Signals A Passwordless Future
May the 4th might be known as Star Wars Day, but it was also World Password Day this year, so Google’s big campaign on the roll-out of passkeys felt timely coming last week. There has been an ongoing push from Google, Apple, and Microsoft, who teamed up via the FIDO alliance last year, to expand support for passwordless sign-in to become the de facto norm worldwide. The Big Tech companies are very passionate about scrapping password-only logins, with Apple citing it as one of the most serious security issues on the web. In their view, passwords are archaic and vulnerable, providing an open goal to the multi-billion-dollar cybercrime industry. With passkeys, you’ll be able to sign in to apps and websites using pins, fingerprints, or face scans. It works via a cryptographic private key stored on your device, with an authentication message sent to a public key held by Google. The Big Tech companies maintain that they don’t have access to your biometric data. You are going to notice Google pushing this a lot more now with nudges and prompts, and they hope to effectively eliminate the password within a couple of years. #Passwordless Read more here.
🛌🆕 Airbnb – 53 New Features Announced in ‘Mea Culpa’ Twitter Thread
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky released a remarkable statement on Twitter last week, outlining 53 (fifty-three!) feature changes the home rentals company would be making in the near future. The changes focused on customer feedback, with Chesky calling it “what you don’t like about Airbnb.” It ranges from price transparency to payment methods to no more surprise checkout instructions (you know, when the owners demand you do weird stuff like clean the fridge). It was, of course, surprising for a CEO to take to social media and talk so openly about stuff customers don’t like (Chesky even spent time replying to individual questions on the mega thread), but it arguably had the desired effect. The MSM picked up on the thread and the reaction to it, providing more coverage than Airbnb would have gotten for a standard press release. It even prompted other brands, such as Tesla, to start engaging with their Twitter followers, asking what they should improve. We should also add that some of the UX improvements on the app, including maps, a new calendar feature, and the Wishlist, are on point. Great work by Airbnb. #NewAirbnb Read more here. ****
🪙🚦Bitcoin – Network Is Clogged with Pending Transactions & High Fees
Is Bitcoin broken? The network has been clogged with unconfirmed transactions – we counted 485,132 this morning – prompting Binance to halt withdrawals. The problem lies with how the network is being used, with most pointing the blame at the rapid adoption of Ordinals (Bitcoin NFTs). While Bitcoin NFTs have existed for several years, adoption was slow for several structural reasons. Ordinals changed the game, but it seems the main network isn’t scalable enough to deal with the high volumes. There are solutions, including the use of the Bitcoin Lightning Network and other side chains. It will be fixed eventually, but this is a huge PR problem for Bitcoin. Remember, Bitcoin and other cryptos are marketed as being faster, smarter, and more secure than banks. Right now, users are paying sky-high fees, waiting days for transactions to clear, and often seeing those transactions fail. #BadLookForBTC Read more here.
🎟️🏈 NFTs – Sports Illustrated Launches “Box Office” NFT-Ticketing Platform
Back in 2021, Sports Illustrated launched SI Tickets, the event marketplace that now has listings for over 250,000 events (it’s not limited to sports and includes music concerts and theater). It’s now taking that a step further with Box Office, a self-service events platform built on the Polygon blockchain. The key selling point is the “Super Ticket”, an NFT product that will unlock benefits from your ticket purchase. For example, you might use your ticket to get exclusive game highlights, video messages from a music artist, discounts on your next purchase, and so on. Of course, it follows in the footsteps of Ticketmaster, which launched its own NFT ticketing program a few weeks back. David Lane, CEO of SI Tickets, claimed that “Blockchain is the future of ticketing”, highlighting their reciprocal use cases to empower both sports organizations and artists, as well as the fans. We couldn’t agree more. #NFTsIllustrated Read more here.
Our team loves sharing all kinds of tips and tricks to enhance efficiency and save time. This week, Howie, (our awesome web developer) updated us on the Slack feature “Later”.
For those unfamiliar with Slack, it's a popular communication platform for teams. Slack recently introduced the Later feature, which acts like a To-Do list. By bookmarking important messages or threads, you can easily revisit them later to check on progress, making it a useful tool for managing tasks and staying organized.
If you have any tips and tricks that optimize your workflow - we wanna know! Send ‘em to email@example.com 🙂
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