Can Generative AI Help WGA and Studios Reshape Hollywood’s Future?


  • Hollywood faces a significant threat from generative AI like ChatGPT, raising concerns about copyright and creative livelihoods. 
  • Studios must be cautious of Silicon Valley’s tactics and consider building a purpose-built generative AI to protect their interests. 
  • Copyright infringement litigation could be Hollywood’s best defense against the potential harm posed by generative AI.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike against studios to secure a new contract allowing writers to have a more significant stake in the industry. Among the contentious issues is the perceived threat posed by generative AI, exemplified by products like ChatGPT, to the livelihood of creative professionals, including writers. Studios view generative AI as a potential cost-saving tool capable of transforming the writing process for various content. This leads to concerns about the future of copyrightable work and employment opportunities for writers.

ChatGPT is a generative AI program trained on vast text corpora to predict the words that should follow a text prompt or word string. Although it is not truly intelligent, its user interface creates an illusion of intelligence. The idea being floated around is for the writers to form their own ChatGPT to develop their technological skills to match the studios’ higher expectations. Is this a valid and sustainable solution? Can generative AI be the opportunity to reshape Hollywood’s future and preserve its unique contributions to the world of entertainment?

Studios’ perception

Studios see generative AI as a means to streamline content creation, especially for formulaic genres like awards shows and sitcoms. The belief is that AI could provide a first draft of such scripts, potentially reducing labor costs and converting script writing from copyrightable work to work for hire. However, generative AI’s limitations make it unsuitable for serious creative work.

Silicon Valley’s history of “enshittification” in social media platforms has raised concerns about its intentions in the entertainment industry. As the technology advances, there is a fear that studios might lose control over their content and profits, similar to what happened in journalism and music.

Streaming technology’s impact

Streaming technology disrupted the television industry by enticing studios with short-term benefits, like increased investments in programming. However, it led to decreased episodes per show, resulting in shorter employment periods for writers and reduced syndication income.

Generative AI presents a significant challenge to the industry, potentially causing copyright owners to surrender their library of scripts in exchange for uncertain benefits. The risk is that studios might be trapped in a situation where their profit margins diminish due to increased reliance on AI.

Finding the best path forward with generative AI

Studios and writers must recognize several crucial realities to protect their interests and creative freedom:

The Potential of Generative AI: While generative AI may be valuable in certain creative realms, it must be purpose-built for specific tasks.

Current Limitations: Existing generative AIs are unsuitable for serious creative work due to their reliance on a generic training set, resulting in subpar output.

Silicon Valley’s True Intentions: Studios must understand that partnering with AI companies to cut costs might harm them in the long run, as Silicon Valley seeks to extract profits from the entertainment industry.

Building Their Own Generative AI: Hollywood has the resources and intellectual property needed to create a generative AI that competes with ChatGPT. By working together, studios can safeguard their business model for the future.

If studios work separately or together to create AI they control, the future of Hollywood will be much brighter. Central to this fourth point is a legal strategy of copyright infringement litigation against the major players in generative AI. If copyright is to mean anything at all, Hollywood must challenge Silicon Valley’s assertion of the right to “permissionless innovation,” which has become a safe harbor for law-breaking in domains ranging from consumer safety to public health to copyright.

Roger McNamee, author of the New York Times bestseller Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe; ex-consultant to HBO’s Silicon Valley

Pixar, Weta Digital, and the CGI special effects industry had already proven Hollywood is a master of technology and a prime innovator. They can use open-source architectures for generative AI. The idea is for the Studios and the WGA to license them cheaply and hire a handful of engineers to train their own AI.

A legal strategy, a copyright infringement litigation

Hollywood’s best defense against the threat of generative AI is a legal strategy that challenges Silicon Valley’s assertion of “permissionless innovation.” Copyright infringement litigation against major players in generative AI could buy the industry valuable time and even become a profit center for writers whose rights are being abused, with no compensation.

The threat of generative AI looms large over Hollywood as the WGA strike continues. Studios and writers must recognize the potential consequences and join forces to protect their creative freedom and economic interests. Building their own generative AI, supported by a legal strategy, can empower the industry to remain in control and thrive in the face of technological advancements. By understanding the lessons from other media sectors, Hollywood can reshape its future and preserve its unique contributions to the world of entertainment.

Disclaimer:The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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