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  • How Hollywood writers triumphed over AI – and why it matters | US writers’ strike 2023 | The Guardian

    Hollywood writers scored a major victory this week in the battle over artificial intelligence with a new contract featuring strong guardrails in how the technology can be used in film and television projects.

    With terms of AI use finally agreed, some writers are breathing easier – for now – and experts say the guidelines could offer a model for workers in Hollywood and other industries. The writers’ contract does not outlaw the use of AI tools in the writing process, but it sets up guardrails to make sure the new technology stays in the control of workers, rather than being used by their bosses to replace them.

    The new rules guard against several scenarios that writers had feared, comedian Adam Conover, a member of the WGA negotiating committee, told the Guardian. One such scenario was studios being allowed to generate a full script using AI tools, and then demanding that human writer complete the writing process.

    Under the new terms, studios “cannot use AI to write scripts or to edit scripts that have already been written by a writer”, Conover says. The contract also prevents studios from treating AI-generated content as “source material”, like a novel or a stage play, that screenwriters could be assigned to adapt for a lower fee and less credit than a fully original script.

    For instance, if the studios were allowed to use chatGPT to generate a 100,000-word novel and then ask writers to adapt it, “That would be an easy loophole for them to reduce the wages of screenwriters,” Conover said. “We’re not allowing that.” If writers adapt output from large language models, it will still be considered an original screenplay, he said.

    Simon Johnson, an economist at MIT who studies technological transformation, called the new terms a “fantastic win for writers”, and said that it would likely result in “better quality work and a stronger industry for longer”.

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