Ashton Kutcher: AI will replace Hollywood and actors

Ashton Kutcher's recent remarks on the potential of AI to revolutionize Hollywood have sparked intense debate about the future of filmmaking and the role of human creativity in an increasingly digital world

by Sededin Dedovic
Ashton Kutcher: AI will replace Hollywood and actors
© Jerod Harris / Getty Images

Actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher has found himself in trouble again after suggesting that AI could one day be used to create Hollywood movies without the need for studios, actors, or crew. Kutcher's comments came during an onstage conversation with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the Berggruen Institute Think Tank in Los Angeles, California, last week.

A video clip of the conversation has since been made private and is no longer viewable on YouTube. Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures, asked Kutcher about the future of Hollywood in the AI era. In response, Kutcher questioned why a filmmaker would go through the hassle of shooting on location when tools like Sora AI are available.

“Why would you go and shoot an establishing shot of a house for a TV show when you could just create that shot for $100? Going and shooting it would cost you thousands of dollars,” Kutcher said, according to a Variety report.

“Action scenes where I jump off a building, you don’t need a stuntman to do that, you could just generate it”. In February, OpenAI introduced its Sora AI model, which uses textual prompts to create one-minute, high-quality videos.

Sora is currently in closed beta, accessible by invitation only, but Kutcher said he had early access.

AI will replace Hollywood and actors, Ashton Kutcher claims

Kutcher went further, suggesting that content creators could use the AI model to make their own movies using content found on the internet, disregarding the obvious implications for copyright and intellectual property.

“You input the shot you want to see or the scene you want to see, the trailer you want to watch, and it creates it,” Kutcher said, adding that this would lead to a proliferation of new content.

Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher attend Netflixs Your Place or Mine world premiere at Regency Village Theater© Charley Gallay / Getty Images

This wave of new, AI-facilitated content, Kutcher said, would change the paradigm of how movies are made and how success is measured.

“The standard will have to rise, because why would you watch my movie when you can watch your own movie?” he said. His entertainment industry colleagues strongly opposed his views on social media. “Not even AI could make a movie where Ashton Kutcher is a good actor,” comedian and actor Gianmarco Soresi wrote on Twitter.

Why would you watch my movie when you can watch your own movie? Many critics pointed out that Kutcher is a co-founder of an investment fund focused on AI, and his comments clearly support disruptive technology rather than an industry in trouble.

“The fact that Ashton Kutcher has a venture capital firm currently investing in AI should have been disclosed,” tweeted Alice Herring, a member of The Animation Guild in Hollywood. “He’s not speaking as a filmmaker (because he’s never been a director, cinematographer, writer, or editor), he’s speaking as a salesperson for investments”.

Kutcher responded to the backlash late Thursday, posting on Twitter that he does not believe AI will replace the film industry or the creative arts. “It’s an amazing tool that we need to learn to work with to become more productive and efficient as [artists],” he wrote.

“Pretending it doesn’t exist will be catastrophic”. Kutcher recently sparked controversy over another tech project he launched with his wife and fellow actor Mila Kunis.

It’s an amazing tool that we need to learn to work with

“If you’re wondering if Ashton Kutcher also fell for the Metaverse, crypto, and NFTs… yes.

The answer is yes,” wrote Lincoln Michel, author of “The Body Scout,” referring to Kutcher and Kunis’s Stoner Cats NFT project. Stoner Cats is still in limbo after the production received a notice from the U.S.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it violated federal securities laws when it sold NFT passes to watch the show in September. The federal regulator fined the Stoner Cats project one million dollars. In 2023, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down over a range of issues, including the use of generative AI in film and television productions.

The strike lasted over six months before a collective bargaining agreement was reached in September. “In a deal worth over a billion dollars, we secured an extraordinary agreement that includes ‘above standard’ increases in minimum compensation, unprecedented consent and compensation provisions that will protect members from the threat of AI,” wrote SAG-AFTRA on Twitter, as reported by Decrypt.

Kutcher's comments have ignited a heated debate about the role of AI in Hollywood, highlighting both the potential and the pitfalls of emerging technologies in creative industries. As AI continues to advance, the entertainment industry must balance innovation with ethical considerations and the preservation of artistic integrity.

The future of filmmaking may be transformed, but the importance of human creativity and collaboration remains paramount.