Written by Luke Barnes
I want to use this piece to talk about AI, the writer’s strike and a few other issues effecting Hollywood right now. I will preface this by saying that I accept that a lot of the arguments out there on AI are quite alarmist and likely mine will have elements of that as well. However, I intend for this piece to talk about the possible real world implications when it comes to entertainment and as such will try and keep hyperbole, such as how AI will wipe out the human race, out of what I am about to say.
Now when it comes to the idea of AI written films a lot of people are worried, there are striking writers worried about losing their jobs, there are other people in other areas of production who are starting to worry that they may be replaced by AI as well, and then there are cinephiles and lovers of going to the cinema that are worried AI written films will make them already more generic then they already are.
In all of these areas I would argue that the worry is earned. One must believe that Hollywood executives probably can’t wait to start using AI and announce cost saving measures, IE firing all the writers or firing most and keeping a ghost crew around to punch up AI written scripts and to qualify for awards. People are greedy and always want to extend their profits, as such I think it is right that writers are striking and the topic of AI is becoming incredibly relevant to their demands.
Likewise, I find something incredibly depressing and dystopian about the idea of customised films. In this frame I am talking about one of the possible uses of AI in films, which would see studio approved AI design films directly for consumers and meet their specifications may even featuring them in the lead. That sounds incredibly off putting to me and like the death of the film industry because at that point where is the talent, where is the heart, where is the craft it is all gone in place of gluttony infused consumerism that would remove the human component entirely. One would have to imagine that a lot of these AI made film experiences would be the same and would be misused, such as someone inserting themselves into a cinematic sex scene with a certain star they like, and whilst this basically boils down to elaborate VR softcore porn, it still feels creepy. Moreover, in that example the star would likely have signed away their rights to whichever studio was putting out the film experience which is then customised by the user to have a sex scene and in that do whatever they want, which would be incredibly short sighted on the part of the star.
There is a lot of ground for things to go wrong, and for the sake of bias it is worth saying that maybe AI could improve cinema in some way, especially within animation making the overworked animators jobs a little easier, but at the same time there is more than enough reason to be concerned.
To break from my hyperbole rule for just a minute I would frame the AI debate within filmmaking as a battle for the soul of the industry and the human heart that beats within it, because you best believe if it is widely adopted their will be mass layoffs.
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