|“Whether the union can secure its A.I. moratorium or not, ChatGPT and its kin are likely to change the industry in some way—if not wholly replacing writers then becoming subsidiary to them, to be used as a tool for generating ideas or sketching out a first draft,” I wrote back in May. “You think Hollywood feels samey now? Wait until it’s just the same 100 people rewriting ChatGPT,” the screenwriter C. Robert Cargill told me then.
Per The New York Times, “more than 100,000 behind-the-scenes workers—including directors, camera operators, publicists, makeup artists, prop makers, set dressers, lighting technicians, hairstylists and cinematographers—in Los Angeles and New York will continue to stand idle,” so pressure remains high on SAG-AFTRA to also secure a deal.
Unfortunately, the worst news is not the AI regulation or the minimum staffing requirements, which prevent entertainment companies from nimbly adapting to new technology that might prove useful; it’s the fact that John Oliver and Seth Meyers may soon return to the airwaves.
The debate stage is but a sideshow: On Tuesday, President Joe Biden will “join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of” United Auto Workers (UAW)—who demand a 40 percent wage increase over four years, pension plan expansions, and a 32-hour, four-day workweek from the Big Three automakers. Former President Donald Trump, who is the current Republican presidential front-runner, announced a Detroit trip right before Biden did. Trump will be speaking to union members on Wednesday, in lieu of showing up on the Republican debate stage. “Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump,” countered the man himself on Meet the Press.
IRS goes back on promises: Remember when the nation’s tax collectors promised they wouldn’t increase the audit rate for people making less than $400,000 annually? (How did that work out in 2022?) This was a critical part of the fight over the $80 billion infusion of cash the IRS received as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. But now, quoting from a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report, Reason‘s J.D. Tuccille explains that “the IRS’s current default definition of high-income taxpayers is $200,000 and above” and that it doesn’t intend to tweak it.
“The IRS does not have a unified or updated definition for individual high-income taxpayers,” said TIGTA on August 31. “The current examination coding scheme uses $200,000 as a main threshold even though it is no longer a reasonable standard for high earners given inflation since 2005.”
“The report recommends the definition of ‘high-income’ be revised,” writes Tuccille, “so that the term means the same thing to IRS agents as it does in press releases from the Department of the Treasury and the White House.” Amazingly, the IRS said no to TIGTA’s request for revision; doing so would somehow “deprive the IRS of the agility to address emerging issues and trends.” (Note that this is the same agency that was required by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen back in February to submit a report detailing how it would spend its new $80 billion, which it failed to do until 48 days after the deadline.)