Disney CEO Bob Iger Calls AI “Disruptive,” Difficult To Manage From An “IP Perspective”

Disney chief executive Bob Iger weighed in on AI today, staying general but calling the battleground technology good for Disney’s business, but disruptive.

“It’s pretty clear that AI represents some pretty interesting opportunties for us, and some substantial benefits. In fact, we are already starting to use AI to create some efficiencies and ultimately to better serve consumers. Getting close to the consumer is a real goal of ours. But it is also clear that AI is going to be highly disruptive and could be difficult to manage, particularly from an IP management perspective,” the exec said on a post-earnings conference call.  

“I can tell you that our legal team is working overtime already to try to come to grips with what could be some of the challenges here. So I would have to say I am bullish overall about the prospects for efficiencies and better service to customers. On the other hand, I think there is a lot we are going to have to contend with that will be quiet disruptive and quite challenging.”

“I’m mot prepared to be more specific,” he added.

AI is central to the fight between the WGA and AMPTP as a writers’ guild strike is well into its second week. The guild’s demands include a close look at AI to “Regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies.” For some, it’s the most important issue on the table. The rise of ChatGPT has raised the possibilty of AI being able to replicate the work of TV and film writers.

Iger was asked about AI on the call. He opined about many things over the hour but the strike barely came up.

CFO Christine McCarthy noted that her financial estimates for Disney’s fiscal 2023 didn’t take the strike into account because it’s not clear how long it will last.

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