Daily Management Review

Hollywood Writers And Studios Spar About The Use Of AI In "Plagiarism Machines"


Hollywood Writers And Studios Spar About The Use Of AI In "Plagiarism Machines"
Hollywood writers have been penning science fiction stories about robots taking over the planet for decades. They are now striving to prevent robots from taking their jobs.
The Writers Guild of America wants to limit the use of AI in creating film and television scripts. According to the guild, Hollywood studios have rejected that notion, stating they would be open to discussing new technology once a year while attempting to make streaming services successful and dealing with declining ad income.
The studios' representative in the contract negotiations, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, declined to comment.
Hollywood's screenwriters for motion pictures and television went on strike on Monday, the first such action in the industry in 15 years, as a result of a number of issues, including the AI debate.
The fight over AI's participation in the creative process will define the future of entertainment for decades to come, even though it is one of the final topics covered in a WGA summary of bargaining issues, many of which centre on enhancing compensation in the streaming era.
The WGA negotiating committee member and screenwriter John August stated that writers had two reservations about AI.
"We don't want our material feeding them, and we also don't want to be fixing their sloppy first drafts," he said.
A fast evolving, multidimensional technology that has swept through international business is in question.
Hollywood is using AI to sketch animated short films with the aid of OpenAI's Dall-E, which can produce realistic visuals, smooth out an actor's liberal use of f-bombs, and remove wrinkles from an actor's ageing face. Scriptwriting is a new endeavour for some writers.
"The problem here seems to be that we thought that creativity, per se, was the last bastion, the line in the sand, that would stop machines from replacing someone's job," said Mike Seymour, co-founder of Motus Lab at the University of Sydney, who has a background in visual effects and artificial intelligence and has consulted with several studios. "I would argue that that's just some kind of arbitrary notion that people had that caught the popular imagination."
Seymour said that AI can aid authors in overcoming "the blank piece of paper phenomenon" and is adept at creating what he terms "pantomime," or stark, direct communication that lacks nuance.
"I'm also not claiming that AI is going to become super intelligent and produce, you know, 'Citizen Kane,' because it just isn't right," said Seymour.
Writers worry that they will be underutilised or at the very least ignored.
"What (AI) could do is spew out a garbled piece of work," said Warren Leight, a screenwriter who served as showrunner and executive producer of the NBC drama “Law & Order: SVU.”
"Instead of hiring you to do a first draft, (studios) hire you to do a second draft, which pays less. You want to nip that in the bud."
The union argued that content produced by ChatGPT, an AI system, could not be regarded as "literary material" or "source material," as such categories are already established in their contract.
In actuality, that means that a writer could not be paid less for a rewrite or polish if a studio executive gave them an AI-generated script to edit.
The union argues against using pre-existing scripts to teach artificial intelligence since doing so would invite intellectual property theft.
"We call it the 'Nora Ephron problem,'" August said, referring to the writer of romantic comedy hits including "When Harry Met Sally" and "You've Got Mail."
"One can imagine a studio training an AI on all of Nora Ephron's scripts, and having it write a comedy in her voice. Our proposals would prevent that."
Ellen Stutzman, the WGA's senior negotiator, stated that some members refer to AI as "plagiarism machines."
“We have made a reasonable proposal that the company should keep AI out of the business of writing television and movies and not try and replace writers," she said.