SAG-AFTRA & AFL-CIO To Host Third Annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit


SAG-AFTRA and the AFL-CIO will host their third annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit on Friday – a full-day virtual program bringing together union, technology, entertainment and media leaders to discuss the future of work.

This year’s Summit will include discussions with key industry leaders & influencers on:
• The rise of streaming services
• The changing business model for content distribution
• Emerging uses for volumetric video
• Combatting deepfakes
• Gaming and voiceover trends
• How innovation and COVID-19 are impacting essential workers

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris will open the event, which will include keynote speeches by Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and Tristan Harris, co-founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology.

David White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director, will discuss the HBO-Warner Bros. deal that shattered conventional film distribution models and its potential impact on the industry.

Click here to register for the program, which is free and open to the public.

Here is the schedule for the Summit:

9 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks by Gabrielle Carteris

9:15 a.m.
Straight to Streaming: Pandemic Strategy or New Normal? An analysis of the HBO-Warner Brothers

9:30 a.m.
Streaming & The Changing Business Model. The expansion of the streaming audience due to the pandemic simply accelerated a trend in the making: Jeffrey Cole, Director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism observed that the last Emmy Awards nominees featured all streaming content followed, soon after, by the launch of Disney’s streaming service which has now gone global. Cole and David White will discuss the central question: What does the future of streaming hold for the aspirations of talent?

10:15 a.m.
Volumetric Video and the Future of Entertainment. Technology is changing the entertainment landscape at a rapid pace, with holograms and digital humans more prevalent than ever. This discussion will explore how volumetric video technology is being used today; how it can enable performers to secure more earnings and continued work; and the ethics and legalities surrounding use of digital names and likenesses.

Matthew Papish, CEO, Immersive Talent Management; Partnership Strategy & Business Development at Samsung XR

• Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, COO & General Counsel, SAG-AFTRA
• Roi Lev, Director of Business Development, Tetavi
• Irfan Merchant, Principal, Mobile Motion MoCap Studios
• Boo Wong, Global Director, Emerging Technologies, The Mill
• Piotr Uzarowicz, Head of Partnerships & Marketing, Arcturus

11:15 a.m.
Deepfakes Update will will provide a brief introduction to deepfakes technology and current legal efforts to address some of its potential harms. Keynote: Danielle Van Lier, SAG-AFTRA’s assistant general counsel, Intellectual Property and Contracts.

11:30 a.m.
From Gaming to Dubbing: What’s Hot in Voice Over. This discussion will look at the shift to working from home, organizing from home and how games and streaming have been a source of comfort during the pandemic. Panelists will also delve into how and why VO performers who have traditionally worked in video games and animation have found new opportunities in dubbing due to organizing efforts and the 2019 Netflix Agreement.

David Errigo Jr, Voice Actor, SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles VO Committee, Coalition of Dubbing Actors

• Sarah Elmaleh, Voice Actor, Interactive Committee, #in4indies
• Xander Mobus, Voice Actor, Coalition of Dubbing Actors

11:45 a.m.
Game Changers from CES. A quick look at 10 game changers that will shape the future of entertainment technology.

Moderator: Rebecca Damon, SAG-AFTRA executive vice president, president of the union’s New York Local President, and chair of the National Innovation & New Technology Committee

• Aubrey Mozino, National Innovation & New Technology Committee
• Dileep Rao, National Innovation & New Technology Committee
• Ben Whitehair, National Board Member and National Innovation & New Technology Committee Member

1:15 p.m.
Keynote: Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, will discuss unions how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics and automation, and the Internet are impacting the workplace in every sector of the economy.

1:30 p.m.
Innovation & the Pandemic: What’s Next for Essential Workers? A discussion focusing on the experiences and lessons learned in key sectors including education, healthcare and retail grocery, how innovation and the pandemic have changed work and impacted frontline employees, and how some shifts – should they become normalized post-Covid – may present long term challenges for work, workers and critical services.

Moderator: Ryan Heath, senior editor & author, Global Translations Newsletter, POLITICO

• Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United
• Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
• Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO
• Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

2:30 p.m.
Big Data, Surveillance and Discrimination. This panel will explore the impacts of the quest for data on workers, in terms of surveillance, control, discrimination, and discouraging unionization, and how workers can push back through organizing, bargaining, and legislation.

Amanda Ballantyne, director of the AFL-CIO Technology Institute

• David Mertz, assistant to the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
• Michelle Miller, co-founder and co-executive director of
• Aiha Nguyen, program director for Labor Futures, Data & Society
• Michelle Penson, deputy director of the AFL-CIO’s Data Analytics & Infrastructure Resource

3:30 p.m.
Closing remarks by Gabrielle Carteris

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