We’ve now reached a point where the AI hype seems to have gone a little too far, and people are attributing things to AI that simply aren’t possible, and won’t be possible anytime soon. It’s NFT, it’s the metaverse, all over again.
One particular case that keeps coming up is the idea that AI will replace the creative field of writing. While in some cases hyper-generic SEO bait on websites, this may be true, in fields such as TV or film writing, the technology does not exist. Technology is not uniform close until there, and everyone acts as if the extinction of writers in these fields is inevitable, and that AI is some kind of cudgel that can be used against creatives while they push for higher pay.
It’s a bluff.
To be clear, I absolutely believe that protecting the AI is what the writers are looking for their strike demands are guaranteed. IT IS no something that former media executives tried to use AI to (badly) replace writers, and such things should be built into contracts as at the very least, some form of long-term future proofing.
The main problem is that people confuse AI programs like ChatGPT with AGI. While AI stands for artificial intelligence, the “intelligence” there does a lot of unreasonably difficult tasks. In fact, there are generative programs that are written from millions of existing stories and web pages (in the case of creative writing, a lot of fan-fiction sites), they don’t “create” anything in the traditional sense, which is why the writing ends up being either generic and repetitive in at best or pointless at worst.
What people think about is AGI, artificial general intelligence. This is several orders of magnitude above these current generative AI systems, and while everyone is trying to reach this point, even AI researchers have to admit that no one is close. AGI is when AI no longer just merges human content, it’s when AI starts to be truly smarter than humans and capable of generating far greater and more useful results than humanity. Then, probably a few levels after that, we get into sci-fi type AI with sentience and consciousness and sure, maybe they can write TV scripts. Or simply decide to wipe out the human race.
But that’s not where we are. We’re nowhere near that. The idea that media executives will be able to replace creative writers on scripted series with the AI models we have or will soon have is complete nonsense, even if someone makes a pass at the end to make it less stupid (which should be a real writer). Here’s The Wire’s David Simon on the possibilities of TV AI:
“I don’t think artificial intelligence can challenge what writers do on a fundamentally creative level,” Simon he said on NPR’s Consider This podcast. “If this industry goes there, it will infantilize itself. We’re all going to see things we’ve seen before, only worse.”
This is a fundamental obstacle to the way this AI works now. You can feed it every TV script ever written, but at that point, all it can spit out is something repetitive, and probably worse, than anything monkey. We can see that this is also AI art, which might be able to fool some people a little better, but there is usually something “missing” about it, and most artists and art consumers can immediately spot AI art. The writing side of this is even worse.
With text-based AI, while it may be good for helping sixth graders write essays or giving me fun little stories about my corgis written in the style of HP Lovecraft, the idea that it could replace TV or film writers on a large scale is absurd, and these executives hard work awaits if they sincerely try. Again, absolutely put anti-AI stuff in writers’ contracts, but truly creative AI remains a science fiction dream, despite recent developments.
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Take my sci-fi novels Herokiller series and Earthborn Trilogy.
Forbes – Innovation