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Disney Joins Forces with Other Companies, Wages “Cold War” on AI

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Images Credit: Disney; glennia, Flickr

The Walt Disney Company has quietly joined a long list of companies that are standing up to AI by blocking Chat GPT.

The debate around Artificial Intelligence has raged on since the technology saw a boom with the explosion of Chat GPT towards the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. While many have gone back and forth as to whether AI is actually going to be useful or whether it stands to disrupt the current economy even more by replacing human workers with AI technology, it appears some companies have already quietly begun a cold war against AI, including the Walt Disney Company itself.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger with Mickey Mouse / Credit: Disney

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Many national newsrooms are in a “cold war” with OpenAI—Chat GPT’s parent company—by blocking the technology from accessing their content.

CNN, The New York Times, and Reuters have all reportedly added code to their site that blocks Chat GPT’s crawler from scanning their websites for content. However, while these companies have done so more publically, there is a whole list comprising of others, including the Walt Disney Company, that have done the same.

Disney, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Axios, Insider, ABC News, ESPN, and The Gothamist, among others, have also taken this step.

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The Walt Disney Company / Credit: Disney

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Per CNN Business, one industry insider who spoke to the news outlet on the condition of anonymity shared, “Most of the internet is garbage. Traditional media publishers, on the other hand, are fact driven and offer quality content.”

And, in order to protect their intellectual property from Chat GPT overtaking them and making their own platforms obsolete, the companies have taken this step to protect their IP rights.

Danielle Coffey, president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, shared, “I see a heightened sense of urgency when it comes to addressing the use, and misuse, of our content…One publisher told me it is an existential threat. Another publisher told me there isn’t a business model with certain uses of A.I. … there is a sense of urgency to address this.”

Beacons of Magic, Tree of Life, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Beacons of Magic, Tree of Life, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

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If OpenAI does make current newsrooms obsolete and put them out of business, the information environment in the United States and globally could come under grave danger, with the possibilities for disinformation and misinformation growing considerably.

However, for the moment, most of these companies have refused to comment publically about this, choosing instead to address them quietly by blocking the crawler.

The move is also particularly hypocritical on Disney’s part for a company that has proven to be open to replacing its workforce with AI wherever possible to cut costs, and in the light of the demands of writers and actors of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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