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Apple and Disney shareholders likely to get vote on AI policies

Proposals call for the companies' use of AI in their business operations and any ethical guidelines adopted for the use of that technology.
Disney, along with Apple, is likely to face shareholder actions on AI policy following an SEC ruling.

Apple  AAPL and Walt Disney  DIS will likely face shareholder votes on their use of artificial intelligence following a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC this week denied requests from both companies to exclude AI-related proposals from their annual meetings. 

These proposals, filed by a pension trust of the AFL-CIO, the most prominent American labor union federation, call for reports on Apple and Disney’s use of AI in their business operations and any ethical guidelines adopted for AI technology use, Reuters reports.

The concern arises from AI’s potential to replace creative and professional workers or to use their work unfairly, as highlighted in recent Hollywood labor disputes and a lawsuit by the New York Times Co. NYT .

The AFL-CIO, which has also filed similar measures at four other technology companies, requested that Apple and Disney disclose their AI practices and board oversight roles. The AFL-CIO emphasized the importance of transparency, consent and compensation for creators and rights holders while training AI systems on copyrighted works or professional performances.

Brandon Rees, deputy director of the AFL-CIO’s office of investment, sees the SEC’s decision as a step towards aligning Apple and Disney with other companies like Microsoft  MSFT , which already disclose their AI practices. He said that Apple and Disney have not yet addressed these ethical issues around AI. 

Both Apple and Disney had argued that these proposals were related to “ordinary business operations.” Still, the SEC found the problems to transcend ordinary business matters and did not constitute micromanagement.

Many countries are developing AI regulations. In 2023, the U.S. has primarily sought nonbinding deals from tech giants regarding AI product safety. Also, Europe is rapidly advancing AI regulations. Concerns about AI’s effect on income inequality have also surfaced.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.