Would AI replace Hollywood’s Scriptwriters?


A Writers of America East and SAG-AFTRA picket outside NBCUniversal in New York City in August 2023 (Credit: Getty Images)

What is AI?

When the term artificial intelligence was first used, most people thought it was an out-of-reach technology. It often appears together with words such as computer technology and big data analysis. But now, it has developed to the point where it is within reach of most people. It exists in our smartphones. Users can easily issue instructions through voice, and then the phone can imitate human behaviour to automatically perform calculations and execute instructions. The emergence of Open AI and ChatGPT has made AI closer or completely integrated into our lives. Many scholars have given different definitions of the continuous development of AI. McCarthy (2007) defined that AI has evolved progressively into intelligent machines and algorithms that can reason and adapt based on sets of rules and environments which mimic human intelligence. Wang (2019) gave the definition of AI which can perform cognitive tasks particularly learning and problem- solving with exciting technological innovations such as machine learning and neural networks.

Unlike many scholars, Kate Crawford (2021) argued in the book The Atlas of AI that artificial intelligence is neither artificial nor intelligent. Rather, artificial intelligence is both embodied and material, made from natural resources, fuel, human labor, infrastructures, logistics, histories, and classifications. Crawford placed AI into the economic, political, cultural, and other forces in society to explain, so that the discussion of AI is not limited to the technological level. If we think from Crawford’s ideas and discuss the problem in a broader social system, it seems more helpful to answer and understand the question of why AI will replace human beings.

(Dhall and Kanungo, 2023)

AI: A Manifestation of Capital and Power

At the same time, as AI continues to advance, it can complete more and more human tasks, resulting in a surplus of labor and an oversupply of labor. The market price of labor has greatly depreciated. Compared to other industrial systems, capitalists and film investors bear high labor costs in the Hollywood film industry. Therefore, when AI can be used in production procedures such as scriptwriting, capitalists will naturally reduce the labor force. This is only a reasonable business behavior in the capitalist market. Capitalists have benefited from AI and gained greater benefits, and then fed it back to the AI ​​industry for technological innovation and development to seek greater benefits. The continuous accumulation and expansion of capital gives relevant capitalists more and more say in society and gives them stronger power in capitalist society. Through AI, as a tool, users’ way of thinking and communication are seriously affected by it. Capitalists can use AI to change individuals’ thinking habits. When AI is firmly in the control of capitalists, it can be the most powerful entity in controlling human beings.

After considering AI in the social system, Crawford (2021) stated that artificial intelligence is now a player in the shaping of knowledge, communication, and power. These reconfigurations are occurring at the level of epistemology, principles of justice, social organization, political expression, culture, understandings of human bodies, subjectivities, and identities: what we are and what we can be. Regardless of whether individuals are actively or passively using AI, when a disruptive tool appears in daily life, we will all be affected to varying degrees

The power of capital’s control over AI extends to many aspects such as human thought, culture, and behavior. If AI replaces screenwriters in writing scripts, then whether the screenwriter’s creativity still have meaning and value? And will this meaning and value be reduced due to the emergence of AI? When people are replaced by AI and disappear from a company or social group, the individual’s subjectivity and identity will also be challenged. Individuals will have doubts about themselves and their abilities due to the loss of social production value. This requires us to re-evaluate our own abilities and requires individuals to have a clearer and more comprehensive evaluation of themselves. At the same time, we will also lose our stable working environment and colleagues, and then lead to obstacles to group identity in society. The participation of AI requires individuals to look for common qualities with others and other groups again, establishing a new identity by constructing emotional connections with others (Freud, 1922).

Moreover, AI is widely used in many fields. Through big data analysis and the generation of personalized solutions, the participation of AI makes it easier to realize most of the needs and preferences of individuals today. With the participation of AI, it is easier for individuals to create more virtual images and identities on the Internet. But what needs to be questioned is, to what extent are these images and identities real enough to construct identity? Or will it make individuals addicted to the online world and affect the construction of individual identities in real society. As a participant in individual daily life, AI is reshaping who we are. We cannot evaluate AI one-sidedly. The reshaping and impact bringing to individuals must have both positive and negative aspects, and this largely depends on the individual’s attitude and way of accepting and treating AI.

(Harding-Wade, 2023)

Human Justice, In the Face of AI

As a tool that continues to develop driven by interests, AI will inevitably make people pursue greater interests when using it, whether it is conscious or unconscious. However, human social behavior cannot be driven solely by interests. Human social behavior should be regulated by morality and culture. Therefore, when AI, as the claws of capitalists, reaches out to individuals, we should face AI cautiously and cautiously, as an angel and a devil simultaneously. Crawford (2021) discusses in the book, the AI ​​industry is making and normalizing its proprietary maps, as a centralized God’s-eye view of human movement, communication, and labor. This is tantamount to putting humans in a dominant position. AI is increasingly used in the field of human resources management. However, the fairness of AI is still questioned when selecting and evaluating talents. The AI ​​system needs to be adaptable to different organizations and ensure that it can make fair decisions. Using AI systems in human resources management seems to eliminate the bias of human decision-making. In fact, the data collection objects, system design, and execution of AI systems all involve human participation in these processes, which will also contain biases. There is still the possibility of injustice and inequality in AI systems.

In addition, AI systems rely on big data to operate. How to respect and protect human privacy in this process requires joint efforts by governments, enterprises, and individuals. AI systems will also continue to obtain personal information and privacy during operation. Therefore, formulating policies and implementing management methods are important means to prevent AI from being abused and misused. To this end, many countries around the world are also making efforts on AI issues. For example, the governments of Canada and France announced in July 2018 that they would work together to establish a new International Panel to guide the responsible adoption of AI systems that are human-centered and grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth (OECD, 2019). Although AI systems are used in all walks of life and have improved production efficiency, they have also caused problems such as inequality, unemployment, and labor surplus, intensified conflicts between individuals, enterprises, and society, and caused social unrest. The strike march in Hollywood is, to a certain extent, the social unrest caused by the improper use of AI. At the same time, the abuse of AI systems also tramples on the autonomy and dignity of human creation in fields such as literature and art. Art works created by AI will also be controversial in society.



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