The thousands of strikers are at the frontlines of two key battles: against a future controlled by AI, and against suffocating inequality
We’re having quite an apocalyptic summer. Wildfire smoke chokes the air of major cities. Amid a brutal heatwave, striking workers muster picket lines on scorching streets. The screenwriters of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have been on strike for nearly three months. Last week they were joined by 160,000 members of Sag-Aftra, the actors’ union. Hollywood is closed for business. Everyone is scared that artificial intelligence could steal away our jobs. It’s hot. Tempers are short. The whole entertainment industry is out of work and angry and ready to lean into class war. It feels a little scary. It feels a little giddy. It feels like anything might happen this year.
This is good. If there wasn’t a huge fight happening right now, the implications would be much, much worse.
Hamilton Nolan is a writer based in New York City and a member of the WGAE
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