July 1, 2023 / VOLUME NO. 268

Dead Air

It may be a while before popular shows like Abbott Elementary or the latest Star Wars series — or any other show for that matter — return to the air. The writers have been on strike since May 2, and production has ground to a halt.

Actors may soon join them. “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom … have all been undermined in the last decade,” more than 300 actors, including Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Lawrence, stated in a letter shared this week. 

A strike by their union, SAG-AFTRA, with the Writers Guild of America would put thousands out of work while all parties negotiate. At the core of their concerns is technology’s impact on these creative workers’ livelihoods. For years now, the shift to streaming — services like Hulu and Netflix — has upended Hollywood’s pay structure, which was built for a more analog world. 

“[WGA] leaders have called this an ‘existential’ moment, contending that compensation has stagnated despite the proliferation of content in the streaming era — to the degree that even writers with substantial experience are having a hard time getting ahead and, sometimes, paying their bills,” stated The New York Times in April, before the strike began. The last time the union negotiated its contract, a traditional network TV show averaged more than 20 episodes a season; streaming shows rarely exceed 12. That makes for a less steady income stream for writers. On top of that, shows don’t run in syndication like they used to, so residuals have dried up. 

Actors face a similar battle. Most aren’t highly-paid superstars like Streep.  

Additionally, both unions want to see the use of artificial intelligence restricted. Actors want their likenesses and voices protected, and want to be compensated if their work could be used to train AI engines. Writers want prohibitions around AI’s use to write or source new material, and they don’t want their work to train AI at all. 


Hollywood isn’t your typical industry. But other sectors, including banking, could face similar challenges. 

Right now, we’re hearing a lot about AI’s potential to make financial services more efficient. In a talent crunch, how could AI help banks address staffing shortages and even drive compensation costs down? The decisions made now will ultimately impact people — shareholders, of course, but also customers and employees. What questions will they be asking about these changes?

With fewer shows to binge while actors and writers strike, we’ll have time to ponder those questions. 

• Emily McCormick, vice president of editorial & research for Bank Director

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“We do an unimpressive job of really understanding what’s sitting in our portfolio.” David Ruffin, IntelliCredit

• Naomi Snyder, editor-in-chief for Bank Director

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