Video game industry and its workers are grappling with AI

This year we will see how the video games industry grapples with artificial intelligence (AI) and how it alters the status quo. Workers are determined not to let things change for the worse though, reports Aftermath. There is a concerted effort to bring the topic to the table, particularly in the industry’s nascent unions.

Square Enix started the year by stating that they intend to be aggressive about AI. The collaboration between Square Enix and Apex Legend developers Rare has already been hit with accusations that AI is being used. Wizards of the Coast has come under fire for using AI-generated art and then telling fans they hadn’t.

Game developers and performers are coming together to make their stance known. In December, the game workers union at Zenimax (which is part of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)) announced that they had reached an agreement with Microsoft that “commits ZeniMax to uses of AI that augment human ingenuity and capacities, to ensure that these tools enhance worker productivity, growth, and satisfaction without causing workers harm.”

Video game developer are bargaining to ensure they do not lose their jobs to AI

Speaking to Aftermath, tester and union member Conor O’Donnell said “We’re trying to make sure that all of AI’s uses become very human-centric. We want it to be centered around people and the workers and making sure that the work is the work and the workers are being respected.”

Another member of the Zenimax union, Dylan Burton, told Aftermath “We have agreed that AI will not be used to replace a person’s job and that it would only be used to assist a job that exists – and not to either reduce the number of positions or to replace an open position or anything along those lines.”

The president of CWA sees these negotiations as a vital step towards protecting workers’ rights. In a statement to Aftermath, Claude Cummings Jr said “My hope and desire is that whether it’s the gaming industry or the telecommunications industry, we can negotiate standards that will not allow a lot of work to be taken away from us because of AI.”

Featured image credit: DALL-E

Ali Rees

Ali Rees is a freelance journalist and mature student based in Scotland.

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