ChatGPT has been around for almost a year. It’s hard to fathom the magnitude of the impact it has had, along with other similar Artificial Intelligence (AI) products. And yet, at the same time, some things that I wish would be impacted, haven’t changed at all. AI is moving rapidly, but as usual, legislation, guidelines, and policies are slow to follow.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the writers’ strike in Hollywood for months. The inclusion of AI in the contract felt like a win and a big impact, at least from my perspective. Essentially, writers wanted protections when it came to AI, among other requests. Understandably, writers felt concerned that AI could replace them, partially or entirely. For example, an AI software could write most of a script and then it would take fewer writers to handle the editing and customizing. I don’t know the exact details of the negotiated deal, but it seems to me that using AI needs to be handled delicately with content creators. There’s a lot of nuance to consider.
I understand why writers would fear AI reducing, or replacing, them. With a few carefully guided prompts and enough training, some chatbots could probably churn out something decent to work with. Though some writers might appreciate having the use of a chatbot to help with generating ideas or a partial script to edit and modify. Coming up with content, especially with high-pressure deadlines, can be draining and stressful. Some weeks I’m so busy, or something unexpected happens (like getting covid), that it’s tempting to use ChatGPT to write something for me. And I only write 400 words (or less) a week! I haven’t used it yet, but that day could come…
Regardless of how writers use AI, the awareness around it and pressure to include it in the contract was important. Too often, new technologies arrive without a lot of governance or guidance on how to manage them. When I was in school, social media was just arriving as something new. We used to ask questions about the impact of all this unmonitored information sharing. Often, the answer was to wait and see when a court case might appear about it to establish some guidelines. However, I think it’s better to be proactive, rather than wait for something to happen.