Sean Penn calls AI “human obscenity”

Oscar winner Sean Penn is railing against AI technology while showing his support for writers amid the WGA strike.

Sean Penn AI

There was a time when the only thing that could interfere with Spicoli’s tasty waves and a cool buzz was a history teacher by the name of Mr. Hand. But, perhaps unexpectedly, Sean Penn has some strong feelings against intelligence of the artificial kind as well, blasting studios for supporting AI.

During a press conference for his latest film, Black Flies, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18th, Sean Penn didn’t mince words when it came to the use and defense of AI, especially as it pertains to the Writers Guild of America strike. “The industry has been upending the writers, actors and directors for a very, very long time…My full support is with the writers guild. There are a lot of new concepts that are being tossed about, including the use of AI. And it just strikes me as human obscenity that there’s been a pushback [from the studios] on that.”

As suggested by Sean Penn, the use of AI has been a major reason for the WGA strike, now in its third week. An official statement from the guild prior to picketing cited “[studios] stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers” as a chief reason for the action. This is the first WGA strike since the one in 2007-2008.

Although more commonly known as an actor, Sean Penn has numerous directing and writing credits on his resume, with both on 1991’s The Indian Runner, 1995’s The Crossing Guard and 2007’s Into the Wild, for which he actually earned a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Fellow WGA nominee Judd Apatow has also blasted studios, saying he thinks they might even know when the whole thing will end.

Joining Sean Penn in his stance against AI is fellow actor Seth Rogen. Earlier this month, Rogen stated, “I think the prospect of artificial intelligence writing things is horrifying…and the fact that they seem to be digging in on [it] is more horrifying…You’d have to shove a lot of weed in that thing [for it to write good TV].” Hey, bud, let’s party!

What are your feelings on Sean Penn’s statements about AI technology? When do you think the WGA strike will end?

Source: Variety

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.