Wga Strike Continues as Writers Take Aim At AI and “Content”

As the Writer’s Guild of America strike continues this week, several writers and their allies have taken to Twitter to point out some of the problems they, and we as audiences, face. Many argue that Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot compete with humans as a writer, whether on the complex level of storytelling or something as simple as creating pithy picket signs.

Others point out that the way that we have begun to discuss art and entertainment as “content” has paved the way for our current situation, where studio executives incorrectly believe AI can generate successful scripts for film and television. 

Artificial Intelligence Can’t Compete With Human Minds

Writer Lynn Sternberger joins the fray of human film and television writers arguing that while morally, humans shouldn’t have to compete with AI, there’s also no competition between humans and machines when it comes to writing. She says she requested several picket signs from ChatGPT and received a list of not-quite-right quotes. 

I asked ChatGPT to “generate pithy picket sign phrases for screenwriters who are currently on strike.” Unsurprisingly, they SUCK. pic.twitter.com/1iWEceN8Vw

— Lynn Sternberger (@LynnSternberger) May 20, 2023

Many respondents agree and highlight that the AI seems to think that “stories” and “glorious” rhyme, a sign of misunderstanding spoken language. 

Another writer responds with their experiment with ChatGPT, where they requested reference-based signs, and there is a marked improvement. Likely because the AI pulls from the internet, where fandoms are more than happy to flood online conversation spaces with their opinions. But, Sternberger argues, it still lacks something human. 

I fed chatgpt the wga demands and asked it to make picket signs that incorporate appropriate movie and tv show references. I also said it could be meta. pic.twitter.com/YXNcA3C4iK

— Alex Plank (@alexplank) May 20, 2023

A Language Problem 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse c0-director Peter Ramsey argues that it’s an issue of how we talk about art. He thinks “content” as a way of referring to any and all media marked the beginning of studios believing they could excise human beings from the process of producing it. 

Calling it “content” was the first step in convincing people that machines could make it

— Peter (or is it?) Ramsey (@pramsey342) May 20, 2023

Ramsey and others highlight that by calling any piece of media, no matter the creators’ goals, using “content” flattens all media into the same thing that exists only to increase profits for studios. 


This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Kyle Logan is a film and television critic and general pop culture writer who has written for Alternative Press, Cultured Vultures, Film Stories, Looper, and more. Kyle is particularly interested in horror and animation, as well as genre films written and directed by queer people and women. Along with writing, Kyle organizes a Queer Film Challenge on Letterboxd.