Writers Guild Would Allow AI in Scriptwriting

As long as human credits and residuals are unaffected, the WGA is OK with it as a tool
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2023 3:05 PM CDT
Writers Guild Would Allow AI in Scriptwriting
Text from the ChatGPT page of the OpenAI website.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The latest organization to address the question of AI's place in the arts and media is the Writers Guild of America—the union for TV, movies, news, documentary, animation, internet and new media writers. Variety reports the WGA is proposing to allow the use of tools such as ChatGPT in writing scripts, as long as it doesn't affect a human writer's credits or payments. As Deadline noted in February, the WGA was already looking into regulating material created with artificial intelligence when it issued a "Pattern of Demands" in anticipation of contract discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The "Pattern" said in part that the guild wanted to "regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies." According to Variety, there was some expectation the WGA might want a total ban on AI. Instead, the union has indicated it would be acceptable for writers to utilize ChatGPT or a similar program in some fashion. This includes situations where—for example—an executive provides a writer with an AI-generated script, asking them to rewrite it and get it ready for production. In WGA's view, however, AI-generated content is not "literary material" or "source material," key terms when it comes to awarding credit to a writer.

If you question ChatGPT or the like as to its purpose, it will state that it is a tool, and the WGA's take agrees with this, essentially treating it the same as a program like Microsoft Word or the word-processing tool created specifically for scriptwriting, Final Draft. Variety notes that it's unclear whether the AMPTP will accept the proposal. Hollywood won't be done grappling with the AI question if it does accept—SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild, still has to deal with questions about artificial intelligence creations using actors' images and voices. (More artificial intelligence stories.)

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