AI in Hollywood: Concerns and Realities
Actors and writers in Hollywood are currently on strike, raising concerns about various issues including pay, working conditions, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the entertainment industry. While some of these concerns may seem reminiscent of dystopian TV shows like Black Mirror, experts suggest that the fears may be somewhat overblown. In this article, we explore the legitimate concerns raised by writers and actors, as well as the nuances and realities of AI in Hollywood.
Writers’ Concerns: Control and Compensation
Writers in Hollywood are worried about the control they have over the screenwriting process when AI is involved. They fear that AI tools, such as language model ChatGPT, could replicate their writing styles and even generate preliminary scripts, leaving them with less creative control and potentially lower compensation.
Dr Alex Connock, a senior fellow at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School and an expert in media and AI, explains that while AI tools like ChatGPT can produce written content, they are not yet capable of truly creative writing. These tools are trained on historic documentation from the internet, which limits their ability to generate original content. However, Dr Connock acknowledges that the concern of writers is legitimate.
On the other hand, actors are concerned about the use of their likeness in AI systems without adequate compensation. Some contracts, particularly for extras, include clauses that allow their faces to be used in AI systems. The fear is that their replicated likeness could be used in productions without proper payment. Dr Connock suggests that Hollywood companies are unlikely to take such risks without explicit permission from the actors involved. Additionally, AI systems typically train on a wide range of faces, making it less likely that a single actor’s likeness would be used exclusively.
The Nuances and Realities of AI in Hollywood
While the concerns raised by writers and actors are valid, there are nuances and realities that need to be considered. Dr Connock explains that generative AI systems, which produce synthetic content, are not truly original. Audiences generally prefer original content over derivative content, which is what AI systems currently produce. This suggests that human-written content based on real experiences may become even more valuable in the future.
TV and theatre writer Lisa Holdsworth, who is chair of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, agrees that AI is a “hot-button issue” in the industry. She emphasizes the need for safeguards to ensure that writers are not replaced by algorithms that simply polish existing work. However, she also believes that AI cannot fully replace human writers and produce the same standard of work. While the quality of AI-generated content may be poor, the concern lies in the power dynamics within the industry. Holdsworth suggests that non-creative individuals who prioritize cost-cutting may pose a greater threat to writers and their positions in the industry.
The Future of AI in Hollywood
Currently, AI is still a fairly blunt instrument in the writing process, and its use is limited. However, as more existing work is fed into AI algorithms, the concerns and threats may increase. It is crucial for writers and industry professionals to engage in discussions with production companies, broadcasters, and streamers to establish safeguards and protect the creative process.
While AI has the potential to assist in various aspects of the entertainment industry, it is unlikely to replace human creativity entirely. The value of original human content is expected to remain high, and the need for human writers may even increase as generative AI systems become less effective over time.
As the industry navigates the integration of AI, it is essential to strike a balance between technological advancements and the preservation of creative work. By addressing concerns, establishing safeguards, and fostering collaboration between AI and human creators, Hollywood can embrace the potential of AI while ensuring the continued value of human storytelling.