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Disney builds task force to improve operations amid growing anti-AI sentiments

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Disney (NASDAQ: DIS) is reportedly boosting the strength of its artificial intelligence (AI) task force as it seeks innovative use cases for the technology across the company.

Per a Reuters report, Disney is throwing its weight behind AI development and integration to stay ahead of the curve or risk playing catch-up with its competitors. According to three unnamed sources, Disney is increasing its investment in AI to reduce soaring movie costs and to offer visitors to its theme parks new immersive experiences.

At the moment, Disney is seeking to increase the staff strength of its AI team, with 11 job vacancies announced across multiple departments.

The AI task force, launched earlier this year, has already notched small wins following a sneak peek into Project Kiwi, a robot relying on machine learning to mimic characters from its Guardians of the Galaxy.

Other use cases for AI in Disney include customer support at Disney theme parks, with one source hinting that the company eyes creating the “next-generation” AI-powered advertisement system. The entertainment company is keen on using AI in movies to “de-age” actors, a technique that sources say could save time and funds for the company.

“AI research at Disney goes back a very long time and revolves around all the things you see being discussed today,” said an unnamed Disney executive. “Can we have something that helps us make movies, games, or conversational robots inside theme parks that people can talk to?”

Disney has been experimenting with AI even before the launch of the task force, collaborating in research papers with AI developers around the globe. In 2022, Disney Imagineering rolled out its first AI-driven character creation, with early users describing the innovation as a “very cool piece of technology.”

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is also going all-in with its AI developments after announcing multiple job roles for machine learning experts, with compensation for one position running into millions of dollars.

Disney’s and Netflix’s foray into AI is coming on the heels of the Hollywood strike involving screenwriters and actors over increased fears of being replaced by AI and other innovative technologies.

AI investment in the US set to spike

According to a recent Goldman Sachs report, AI investment in the U.S. could soar to $100 billion before the end of 2025 and make up 4% of the economy. Despite the present lead of Europe in AI development, the report noted that the U.S. would take the lead in both commercialization and talent.

U.S. regulators are scrambling to roll out rules for AI in the country with a recent bipartisan bill to establish a national AI commission. The country’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a major investigation into the operations of OpenAI for breaching consumer protection regulations. At the same time, state regulators have warned of the increase in AI-powered digital currency scams.

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