Bob Iger Tells Hollywood to ‘Embrace’ Changing Technology, Including AI

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Bob Iger Tells Hollywood to ‘Embrace’ Changing Technology, Including AI

By Movieguide® Contributor

While at the Canva Create showcase, Disney CEO Bob Iger told the crowd that new technology — like artificial intelligence — should be embraced, not avoided.

“Walt Disney himself was a big believer in using technology in the early days to tell better stories. And he thought that technology in the hands of a great storyteller was unbelievably powerful,” Iger said during his presentation at the showcase.

According to Variety, “Iger, who is an investor and board member of the privately held online design platform, commended Canva for embracing the potential of generative AI tools and other cutting-edge technologies to make high-end visual media design tools readily available to everyday users.”

He challenged the creative community to shift their mindset on artificial intelligence.

“Don’t fixate on its ability to be disruptive — fixate on [tech’s] ability to make us better and tell better stories. Not only better stories, but to reach more people,” he urged.

“You’re never going to get in the way of it. There isn’t a generation of human beings that has ever been able to stand in the way of technological advancement,” Iger added. “What we try to do is embrace the change that technology has created and use it as the wind behind our backs instead of wind in our faces.”

Iger’s interest in embracing rising technology isn’t surprising. Last year, Disney launched a task force to look into how AI could be used across the company.

“Launched earlier this year, before the Hollywood writers’ strike, the group is looking to develop AI applications in-house as well as form partnerships with startups,” CNBC reported.

Former chairman of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg expects that AI will cut down some of the workforce required to make an animated movie.

“I think that on the one hand, it will be disruptive and commoditize things that are very inaccessible for artists and storytellers today…In the good old days when I made an animated movie, it took 500 artists five years to make a world-class animated movie…I don’t think it will take 10 percent of that three years out from now,” he said.

However, WISH executive producer Peter Del Vocho emphasized that the company is taking a cautious approach to the tech.

“Look, we’re taking a very cautious approach [to AI]. We are waiting to see how things develop,” he said. “Truthfully, we like tools that let the artist enhance the work that they’re doing. But we don’t view it as an end means in and of itself.”

Movieguide® previously reported on AI in the entertainment industry:

While many in Hollywood are concerned that artificial intelligence will take over the entertainment industry, others believe the technology can never replace “human experience.”

Per Deadline, “AI became a hot topic in Hollywood last year, when both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA found themselves at odds with the studios on the topic. The unions both insisted on provisions in their film and TV contracts to protect members against the use of AI, which was one of several road blocks that would eventually prompt two simultaneous 100+ day strikes.”

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos weighed on AI during an appearance on actor Rob Lowe’s podcast.

“I think that the creators who learn to use these tools better than everyone else are gonna win…not companies who create, but people who create,” Sarandos said.

However, he doesn’t believe AI would substitute for filmmakers since “it’s feasible that AI can replicate or imitate those things, but there’s something about the authenticity and the reality of human experience that people see, and they can also see when it’s inauthentic.”

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