Screenwriters take aim at artificial intelligence
When Greg Brockman, the president and co-founder of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, was recently extolling the capabilities of artificial intelligence, he turned to "Game of Thrones."
Imagine, he said, if you could use AI to rewrite the ending of that not-so-popular finale. Maybe even put yourself into the show.
"That is what entertainment will look like," said Brockman.
Not six months since the release of ChatGPT, generative artificial intelligence is already prompting widespread unease throughout Hollywood. Concern over chatbots writing or rewriting scripts is one of the leading reasons TV and film screenwriters took to picket lines earlier this week.
Though the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is striking for better pay in an industry where streaming has upended many of the old rules, AI looms as rising anxiety.
"AI is terrifying," said Danny Strong, the "Dopesick" and "Empire" creator. "Now, I've seen some of ChatGPT's writing and as of now I'm not terrified because Chat is a terrible writer. But who knows? That could change."
AI chatbots, screenwriters say, could potentially be used to spit out a rough first draft with a few simple prompts.
Writers would then be hired, at a lower pay rate, to punch it up.
Screenplays could also be slyly generated in the style of known writers. What about a comedy in the voice of Nora Ephron? Or a gangster film that sounds like Mario Puzo? You won't get anything close to "Casablanca" but the barest bones of a bad Liam Neeson thriller isn't out of the question.
The WGA's basic agreement defines a writer as a "person" and only a human's work can be copyrighted. But even though no one's about to see a "By AI" writers credit at the beginning a movie, there are myriad ways that...