Get ready to meet your computer co-writer.
Last night, Variety broke a story about the WGA allowing artificial intelligence in screenwriting as long as writers maintain credit. Now, as many of you know, the WGA is currently in locked-door negotiations with the AMPTP over their upcoming contract. This story seems to have “leaked” out of there, with Variety citing three unnamed sources.
I was hesitant to report on this idea because until the WGA comes out and says it, I think it’s a noisy headline used to rile up writers and break ranks, especially when there might be an upcoming strike.
But, this would be news. I think we should just look at the report and analyze it. So here goes.
According to the article, The Writers Guild of America has proposed new guidelines for using AI in film and television writing. The proposed guidelines would require that writers are involved in the AI development process, that the AI system is transparent, that AI tools are not used to replace writers, and that writers retain creative control over their work.
The proposal comes amid concerns about the impact of AI on the creative process and the potential loss of jobs for writers. The guidelines are not legally binding but are intended to serve as a framework for discussions between writers and producers about the use of AI in the industry.
The crux of the argument is that even if an executive hands a writer a whole screenplay written by AI, any work done on the script by the writer means they’ll still receive sole credit for the work. Even if a writer uses something like ChatGPT to write a screenplay, the program gets no credit at all, only the writer does.
This all comes out of the idea that an AI tool cannot produce “literary material.” Only a writer can do that, and therefore only a writer can be credited.
All of this will be part of the ongoing WGA negotiations. As I look at the mandates, I think this might be the only way to maintain human importance in an industry endlessly trying to cut corners and trim jobs. As long as we maintain that computers are not actually creating and being creative, we can maintain how necessary it is for writers to continue to have jobs and work in this industry.
Time will tell if this has any merit at all.