Friday, June 14, 2024

Hollywood Writers Strike Against the Studios’ Pressure to Use AI for Writing

The Writers Guild of America is on strike to pursue livable working conditions along with better streaming residuals. However, the networks are not budging on the demands of the writers to regular AI usage in writers’ rooms.

Writer speaks in against of

Adam Conover, a comedy writer, told Tech Crunch, “Our proposal is that we not be required to adapt something that’s output by AI, and that the output of an AI not be considered writers’ work.” He added, “That doesn’t entirely exclude that technology from the production process, but it does mean that our working conditions wouldn’t be undermined by AI.”

However, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) straight out denied engaging with the proposal. Instead, they offered an annual meeting to discuss “advances in technology”.

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Adam said, “When we first put [the proposal] in, we thought we were covering our bases — you know, some of our members are worried about this, the area is moving quickly, we should get ahead of it.” He stated further, “We didn’t think it’d be a contentious issue because the fact of the matter is, the current state of the text-generation technology is completely incapable of writing any work that could be used in a production.”

It is to be noted that text-generating algorithms are not made to entertain people. They rather analyze patterns in huge datasets to reply with the most desired output to requests.

Expert speaks in favor of

Ben Zhao, a professor at the University of Chicago told TechCrunch, “It’s to the advantage of the studios and bigger corporations to basically over-claim ChatGPT’s abilities, so they can, in negotiations at least, undermine and minimize the role of human creatives.” He added, “I’m not sure how many people at these larger companies actually believe what they’re saying.”

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Concerns

Conover says that although some parts of a writer’s work are less obvious than scriptwriting it is still difficult to replicate with AI. However, another comedian, Yedoye Travis said, “What we do in writers’ rooms is ultimately bouncing ideas around. Even if it’s not good per se, an AI can throw together a script in however many minutes, compared to a week for human writers, and then it’s easier to edit than to write.”

He says AI may be promising for humans in some aspects but studios could demand more than it can offer just to want more from writers in a short period. There is another reason for writers to advocate the regulation of AI use in the entertainment business because it is in a grey area legally.

Implications

Conover stated, “It’s not clear that the work that it outputs is copyrightable, and a movie studio is not going to spend $50 to $100 million shooting a script that they don’t know that they own the copyright to.” He added, “So we figured this would be an easy give for [the AMPTP], but they completely stonewalled on it.”

Finally, Conover said, “I’m not worried about the technology. I’m worried about the companies using technology, that is not in fact very good, to undermine our working conditions.” For the first time, the Writers Guild of America went on a strike since its 100-day action in 2007. Adam Conover considers the discussion over AI technology to be a “red herring”.

Writers are mainly concerned with the understaffed writing teams and dismal streaming residuals since generative AI is in its rudimentary stage at best. However, the studios’ agenda on the union’s AI-related concerns just reinforces the core problem further. People who power the entertainment industry of Hollywood are not paid their fair share.

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Dipanita Bhowmick
Dipanita Bhowmick
Dipanita Bhowmick: I am a content writer with 13+ years of experience in various genres, allowing me to adapt my writing style to diverse topics and audiences. Alongside my passion for creating engaging content, I have a deep interest in esoteric knowledge, constantly exploring the mystical and unconventional realms for inspiration along with spiritual and personal growth.

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