AI is a very hot topic these days. Some areas and industries are showing clear benefits from incorporating artificial intelligence into practices, while in others it is becoming increasingly problematic. For the world of entertainment, AI is a bit of a mishmash. The world of film and TV is currently being massively rocked by strikes due to AI claiming the jobs and responsibilities of human beings, and no doubt the gaming and music industries will be next to feel the impact of AI and what it can do. So, with this being the case, Alex and Ben of Gamereactor UK decided to put their heads together and discuss the place of AI in entertainment.
Before – Ben
Let me clarify one thing right away. I am not in favor of AI taking over the jobs of writers and animators, or even using its enormous power to generate and use an actor’s likeness without their permission. Absolutely not. What I am in favor of is using AI to enhance and improve the human practices we are all so familiar with.
As the entertainment industry continues to grow and expand, production expectations increase. Whether it’s Paramount, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. no matter the production giant, they want to produce more movies and TV and still be of the same high quality. For people with human lives, it is just not plausible to sustain this demand and go through every part of the production process. The best answer is to produce fewer movies and TV shows, but we all know that consumer trends won’t change anytime soon, so demand must be met. Enter AI.
Whether it’s handling localization of scripts, creating opening sequences like in Secret Invasion, helping with the complex and demanding nature of incorporating CGI into live-action, or even helping the talented and amazing animators around the world with meeting the demands of their production overlords, there is an advantage to allowing AI to endure some of the more grueling and exhausting processes at work.
For example, when you watch a YouTube video, it is AI that often generates the subtitles. When you speak to a particularly talkative NPC in a game, AI drives his behavior. Have a poor-quality audio recording? AI can update and improve the audio. There are advantages and reasons to use AI, and no, that does not mean we should hand over the tasks of screenwriting, music creation, acting, and so on to a virtual system. Again, regulation is the key here.
I also like to think about how exciting the world will be when AI is better incorporated into our lives. Imagine a video game where you can generate real-time conversations with characters you meet around the world. Or even a movie that is more detailed yet produced in the same time frame as animators and AI work hand in hand to address CGI practices.
We rely on AI to tell us the weather, set alarms, message and call friends and family, make appointments, take notes, find the number we can’t remember, and so on. Every time you ask Siri or Google for help, you are working with an AI, so why not carefully open the doors to AI in entertainment and see how it can help us expand and grow this wonderful industry.
Against – Alex
The way we have it now, AI is like giving a toddler a rocket launcher. There’s not much good that little one can do with a rocket-propelled grenade, but they can certainly do a lot of damage. Perhaps there are some great uses for AI out there. Besides entertainment, we already see some positive aspects of this new technology, but looking at movies, TV shows and games, the trend of AI is worryingly shifting more toward trying to get simple, soulless solutions to problems that didn’t exist instead of actually improving anything.
Actors and writers are not only striking out in hopes of better pay, but they also want some security now that the threat of AI is hanging over their heads. With stories of background actors having their faces and bodies scanned so their image can be used in hundreds of projects without payment or permission is a scary reality, one that will only grow if we allow AI to continue at its current pace. This is not the fault of the technology, mind you, but it is the fault of those in control of it. The toddler with the rocket launcher.
The toddler in this metaphor are the fat cats of Hollywood. The streaming CEOs and those who like to earn just that little bit extra while sitting on their piles of cash. The future may hold some scary prospects, and perhaps there will eventually be shows produced entirely by AI, but the core problem here lies not in that possibility, but in the likelihood that if it were to happen, it will mean that hundreds of people will not have been paid fairly. People make shows, movies and games regardless of whether they are one day aided by AI processes or not. With those who hold the purse strings refusing to acknowledge that, the legitimate concerns around AI become more real, because the more it gets involved in entertainment, the less chance we have of the little guy being able to make a good living in Hollywood.
Even if we put power in the right hands and AI is regulated, that doesn’t mean the things it creates will necessarily be good. For example, look at the mess of the opening scene of Secret Invasion. I know this technology and its potential will improve over time, as we’ve seen with ChatGPT, Midjourney and other AI prospects, but no matter how smart these machines get, I don’t see them creating anything that can really challenge the peak of cinema. Brainless entertainment, sure, but to get something that really speaks to the core of a person, something with its own soul, AI can in no way be trusted.
Since the beginning of human history, stories have been used for us to pass on important information, deal with struggles beyond our daily lives and create a way of life beyond our due dates. Movies, TV shows and games are just the latest ways to tell meaningful stories that make you think for days, weeks, even months at a time. Without simply ripping off what has come before, I don’t see a future where an AI can create something like this. Yes, sure, but some AI processes in the background, but we all know it won’t stop there. If you can pay someone a fair salary to do something for you, or get an AI to do it for free, as a greedy executive you’re going to choose the latter option, even if the end result is much worse.
AI in entertainment cannot exist without putting someone out of a job as it stands. While tech-bros may tell you it’s the future, they have no business deciding that a person won’t get to work in the role they’ve dreamed of just because a machine can do a worse job. If AI were to prey on the roles of CEOs, middle managers and anyone else who believes it’s a game changer, you can bet people in those positions wouldn’t be lying down for their machine overlords anytime soon. Abolish the idea of AI in entertainment or try to put it in some more trusted hands, but it cannot continue as it is. The potential is not exciting, it is worrisome, and I would rather have much less to watch, read and play with than be pumped full of AI-generated nonsense.