AI should aid screenwriters — not replace

How do you define creativity, and is it possible with artificial intelligence (AI)? Of course, those two letters seem to dominate technology news. AI was largely considered science fiction until just a few years ago. Even then, it was limited to things that happened “under the hood” in our newest gadgets. For example, Canon announced AI-assisted face recognition in their cameras. It seemed like a great thing. Then along came ChatGPT, and the world took notice.

ChatGPT was officially released in November of 2022. Within a few months, it recorded over 100 million users, becoming the fastest-growing consumer software in history. Essentially, as a chatbot, it’s designed to be able to communicate with a user. You can ask a question, and it responds with an answer gleaned in milliseconds from sources on the internet. This has a variety of uses, such as connecting an avatar to it and holding a conversation with it. Does that mean it’s a writer?

That is one of the issues that has the Writer’s Guild of America concerned. It’s a secondary issue in their most recent strike. Can a production company have a bot re-write a scene without paying a writer? Could AI write an entire script? At the moment, the answer is no. Before the strike, the WGA formed a committee to investigate the capabilities of this new technology. They found that it would take longer to work this way. Plus, they determined that ChatGPT can only work within its given perimeters. It cannot generate its own unique ideas.

But can ChatGPT assist you in the creative process? In many ways, yes. For one, AI support can help you find new ways to phrase things. For instance, you could ask ChatGPT to describe a rainforest in the style of William Shakespeare. It will give you some really colorful prose. It can also be a great help in research. Let’s say you’re doing a documentary on a historical figure or event. The AI can do a great job at putting together background information. But one note of caution: Check everything. ChatGPT has been known to return inaccurate information because it can’t distinguish fact from fiction.

Writing with AI can have many benefits, and it’s still in its infancy. Moving forward, we just need to think critically and develop ways AI can assist writers, not replace them.

Matthew York
Matthew York
Matt York is Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.

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