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David Simon, television writer known for The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street, is sharing his thoughts on artificial intelligence in Hollywood and writers rooms amid the ongoing strike.
During a recent interview on NPR’s Consider This podcast, Simon said, “I’d rather put a gun in my mouth,” than use AI to help write scenes for scripts.
He added, “I don’t think AI can remotely challenge what writers do at a fundamentally creative level.”
The use of AI has been one of the topics at the center of discussions in the film and TV industry, especially during the Writers Guild of America’s contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Writers are concerned and want to regulate the use of AI.
It’s also one of the reasons, among others, that led to negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP faltering at the beginning of the month and writers going on strike. The guild claimed the AMPTP rejected its proposals and instead countered by offering annual meetings to discuss advancements in technology.
“Not only do I think it’s a fundamental violation of the integrity of writers and also of copyright,” Simon, who is also a member of the WGA’s negotiation committee, explained. “When I sold all the scripts I sold, 150 to HBO and maybe another 50 to NBC, I didn’t sell them so that they could be thrown into a computer with other people’s and be used again by a corporation.”
The co-creator of We Own This City also clarified that he would not agree to any contract that saw any role for AI. “If that’s where this industry is going, it’s going to infantilize itself,” he added. “We’re all going to be watching stuff we watched before, only worse.”
“If a writer wants to play around with AI as the writer and see if it helps them, I mean, I regard it as no different than having a thesaurus or dictionary on his desk … play around with it,” he said, in response to if he thinks this is where the industry is going to end up. “If it starts to lead the way in the sense that a studio exec comes to you and says, ‘AI gave us this story that we want.’ That’s not why I got into storytelling, and it’s not where I’ll stay if that’s what storytelling is.”
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