As AI tools have advanced, some have wondered if the technology will one day replace screenwriters.
AI is one of the unresolved issues that has led the WGA to strike, but ChatGPT isn't ready for prime time.
Here's an AI-generated script of the 'Succession' finale — and what experts thought of it.
Screenwriters are furious about AI potentially having a writing credit on your favorite show — but the technology isn't ready for prime time just yet, if our latest "Succession"-related experiment is any proof of its capabilities.
Earlier this month, more than 11,000 film and TV screenwriters went on strike after the Writers Guild of America was unable to agree on a labor contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Writers who are part of the guild walked out mainly to fight for better wages and fair practices amid the rise of streaming giants. However, they are also demanding guardrails around the use of AI, as they worry the tech may suppress their wages and potentially take their jobs in future.
To see if AI could actually do the job of a screenwriter, Insider asked OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus to write a hypothetical scene from the series finale of HBO series "Succession."
Since ChatGPT isn't trained on public data after 2021, Insider prompted the AI chatbot to predict what happens in the finale after feeding it summaries of season four's first six episodes.
The bot predicted that by the end of the season, the Roy children would have control of the fictional media conglomerate Way star Royco. Next, Insider asked ChatGPT to write a scene from the finale based on that prediction.
The result? A straight-forward, happy ending with overly earnest dialogue — a total departure with the rest of the show. The full script is available below.
Screenwriters say the AI-script is 'pure drivel': 'They're all too nice'
To see what experts thought, we sent the scene over to screenwriters and screenwriting professors. They were dumbfounded by the AI-generated script.
Neil Landau, a screenwriting professor at the University of Georgia who wrote the book "The TV Showrunner's Roadmap: Creating Great Television in an On Demand World" and is a WGA member, told Insider that the script is "pure drivel" and "just god awful."
Landau, who called show "one of the best TV series on the air," said the quality of the script's writing is "terrible." He said it lacks "humor, irony, clever word play" and the show's signature "dysfunctional toxic, twisted transactional family power dynamics."
The most striking difference, he said, is how the AI-generated script contains "zero subtext," which he said "Succession" excels at.
"None of the character's voices rings true," Landau said. "Frankly, they're all too nice and straightforward."
If the "completely ridiculous" script were how the show actually ended, there would be "massive fan backlash," he said.
Oliver Thornton, an Emmy-winning screenwriter who is not part of the WGA, agreed with Landau.
"One of the most glaring mistakes is that many of these characters are saying exactly what they are feeling, which results in dialogue that is extremely clunky and 'on the nose,'" the writer-turned-screenwriting professor at the University of Michigan told Insider.
Thorton also said that the script doesn't "play against audience expectations for what is going to happen," which he said is "what makes a show like 'Succession' so compelling." Generating a scene solely based on what's available on the internet, he said, "strips" the characters "of their complexity."
"To me, this is indicative of everything wrong with the idea of AI-generated screenwriting and the pitfalls that come with it," Thornton said.
Jim Burnstein, another screenwriting professor at the University of Michigan and a WGA member, told Insider the script is "really insulting" and "should be off the table right away."
"A bunch of monkeys" can write "Hamlet" better than ChatGPT can write "Succession," he added.
"This scene is one for the garbage can," Landau said. "Burn it."
Read ChatGPT's script here:
Read the original article on Business Insider