Striking Hollywood writers fear AI will write them out of the script.
Hollywood writers say they are fighting to keep their work in human hands, fearing that artificial intelligence could eventually take their jobs.
(CBC News, May 5, 2023)
These machines superseded the necessity of employing a number of workmen, who were left in consequence to starve. By the adoption of one species of frame in particular, one man performed the work of many, and the superfluous labourers were thrown out of employment. Yet it is to be observed, that the work thus executed was inferior in quality, not marketable at home, and merely hurried over with a view to exportation. It was called, in the cant of the trade, by the name of Spider-work.
(Lord Byron, House of Lords, February 27, 1812)
Perhaps what worries Hollywood writers most is that their scripts, if they can be written as well by a computer as by a human, are really just Spider-work. Doctors everywhere welcome the help they get from AI in all aspects of their work, from diagnosing and prescribing to the planning and execution of surgical procedures – high-level Spider-work but Spider-work all the same.
Spiders evolved differently from humans to become highly specialised, with expertise far superior to humans in certain tasks, namely, weaving webs to catch flies. Hollywood writers should welcome the help that AI can give them in similarly specialised tasks, such as turning generic storylines into formulaic scripts.
It doesn’t take a genius to do that, just an algorithm.
Artificial intelligence is not quite an oxymoron, though it does require an examination of both words to identify differences as well as commonalities. That process might throw up an alternative AI which most people, I think, would see as an obvious contradiction in terms: artificial imagination.
Intelligence is made up of specialisms which computers can be taught to carry out more quickly and accurately than humans, not least because algorithms never get bored. Imagination, on the other hand, is unruly, unpredictable, a child of nature, not of artifice.
Hollywood writers, writers everywhere, should be happy to let AI go on with the Spider-work, while they, relieved of pressure from publishers and movie makers to keep on churning out the same old rubbish, are able to set their imaginations free.
To return to Byron –
On with the dance! let joy be unconfin’d;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the Glowing Hours with Flying Feet.