Will AI replace creatives in Hollywood? A VFX expert weighs in

Written by Anna Buss, Produced by Joshua Farnham

“There's AI creating new jobs, getting a more authentic performance, and validating the work of the creative team, and I just see this as a win. I don't see this as like the end of civilization or the end of media entertainment,” says Mike Seymour, Emmy nominated VFX specialist and AI expert. Image by NicoElNino/Shutterstock

Artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI —  used to create content like audio, images, text, simulations, and videos —  has become one of the main contention points between Hollywood studios and the writers and actors currently on strike. WGA member Billy Ray recently explained why AI is a problem for the guilds.

Following that conversation, The Business received an email from Dr. Mike Seymour, a senior researcher at the University of Sydney with a PhD in AI, whose work has been widely published across outlets like the Harvard Business Review and Wired

In his email, he wrote that he’s a member of a local union (Seymour didn’t specify), so he empathizes with the issues raised by the writers guild. However, he also sees another side to the story regarding AI. Since the studios have refrained from discussing it, Kim Masters took the opportunity to explore some of those issues herself. 

As an AI enthusiast and Emmy-nominated VFX specialist (Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars), Seymour says the technology is misunderstood, and that human mismanagement of AI — not the tools themselves — should be the target of concern. 

“We want to have available to us ethical tools that do allow us to do the things you want to do, but don't violate people's copyright,” says Seymour. “What I really would love to see is [for people to] not just paint this stuff as being inherently bad, because it just isn't.”

Masters speaks with Seymour about the current use of AI tools in filmmaking and the various ways Hollywood has already benefited from them. He also addresses the concerns of SAG-AFTRA members in the midst of negotiations with the AMPTP. Plus, he talks about the need for regulation to protect against human misuse of the technology, and explains how AI can be harnessed to shore up creative workers rather than displace them.  

Many KCRW staff are members of SAG-AFTRA, though we are under a separate contract from the agreement at issue between actors and studios.



  • Dr. Mike Seymour - Senior Lecturer, Information Systems at University of Sydney; MOTUS Lab Director; co-founder, fxguide.com; Emmy nominated VFX specialist and AI expert


Kim Masters


Joshua Farnham