AI can’t replace human writers

in the safety pin Last season of “Succession”, Kendall Roy walks into a conference room with his brothers. When he starts the scene, he takes a seat and declares: “Who will be the successor? Me.”

Granted, that scene didn’t appear on the hit HBO show, but it’s a good illustration of the level of sophistication of generative AI compared to the real thing. Yet as the Writers Guild of America goes on strike seeking livable working conditions and better broadcast waste, the networks are not budging on writers’ demands to regulate the use of AI in writers’ rooms. .

“Our proposal is that we are not required to adapt something produced by AI, and that the output of an AI is not considered the work of writers,” comedy writer Adam Conover told TechCrunch. “That does not completely exclude that technology from the production process, but it does mean that our working conditions will not be undermined by AI.”

But the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) refused to commit to that proposal, instead offering an annual meeting to discuss “advances in technology.”

“When we first introduced (the proposal), we thought we were covering our bases, you know, some of our members are concerned about this, the area is moving fast, we need to get ahead of ourselves,” Conover said. “We didn’t think it would be a contentious issue because the fact is that the current state of text generation technology is completely incapable of writing any work that can be used in a production.”

The text generation algorithms behind tools like ChatGPT are not designed to entertain us. Instead, they analyze patterns in massive data sets to respond to requests by determining what is the most likely desired result. So ChatGPT knows that “Succession” is about the sons of an aging media mogul fighting for control of his company, but it’s unlikely to feature more nuanced dialogue than “Who will succeed A?” my.”

According to Ben Zhao, a University of Chicago professor and faculty leader for the anti-mimetic tool Glaze, advances in AI can be used as an excuse for corporations to devalue human labor.

“It’s to the advantage of larger studios and corporations to basically overclaim ChatGPT’s abilities, so they can, at least in negotiations, undermine and minimize the role of human creatives,” Zhao told TechCrunch. “I’m not sure how many people in these big companies actually believe what they say.”

Conover stressed that some parts of a writer’s job are less obvious than literal screenwriting, but just as difficult to replicate with AI.

“It’s going and meeting the set decoration department who says, ‘Hey, we can’t actually build this prop you’re imagining, could you do this instead?’ and then you talk to them and you go back and rewrite,” she said. “This is a human enterprise that involves working with other people, and that just can’t be done by an AI.”

Comedian Yedoye Travis sees how AI could be useful in the writers room.

“What we do in writers rooms is ultimately brainstorm,” he told TechCrunch. “Even if it’s not good per se, an AI can create a script in any number of minutes, compared to a week for human writers, and then it’s easier to edit than write.”

But even if there may be some promise for how humans can take advantage of this technology, he worries that studios will see it simply as a way to demand more of writers over a shorter period of time.

“It tells me that they only care about the things that get done,” Travis said. “They’re not worried about people getting paid for things that are done.”

The writers also advocate regulating the use of AI in entertainment because it remains a legal gray area.

“It’s not clear that the work they produce is copyrighted, and a movie studio is not going to spend $50 million to $100 million filming a script they don’t know they own the copyright to,” Conover said. “So we thought this would be easy for (the AMPTP), but they completely evaded it.”

As the Writers Guild of America strikes for the first time since its historic 100-day action in 2007, Conover said he believes the debate over AI technology is a “red herring.” With generative AI at such a rudimentary stage, writers are more concerned with poor broadcast waste and understaffed writing teams. However, the studios’ rejection of the syndicate’s AI-related requests only further reinforces the core problem: The people who power Hollywood aren’t getting paid their fair share.

I’m not worried about the technology,” Conover said. “I am concerned that companies are using technology, which is actually not very good, to undermine our working conditions.”

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