The Writers Guild of America is taking on the robots.
The guild has clarified its position on the use of artificial intelligence in the writing process as it’s in the third day of negotiations with the AMPTP.
The WGA highlighted AI, which has been on the rise as a result of services such as ChatGPT, in its Pattern of Demands, saying that it plans to “Regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies”.
The union has now gone further following reports that it would allow writers to use AI to write scripts.
“The WGA’s proposal to regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies ensures the Companies can’t use AI to undermine writers’ working standards, including compensation, residuals, separated rights and credits,” it noted.
The guild added that AI can’t be used as source material to “create MBA-covered writing or rewrite MBA-covered work, and AI-generated text cannot be considered in determining writing credits”.
It highlighted similarities between studios asking writers to refer to a Wikipedia page or other research material, but stated that such work as “no role in guild-covered work, nor in the chain of title in the intellectual property”.
Finally, it added that “plagiarism is a feature of the AI process” as a result that services can’t distinguish between copyright-protected and public domain content.
There’s no indication that the studios are pushing hard for the use of AI themselves, but it’s certainly become one of the more interesting conversations during the talks between the writers and the studios, which kicked off on Monday.
As Marc Guggenheim, co-creator of Arrow, said, on the From the Trenches Substack, the talks are about protecting writers against such a technology in the future.
“As a guild, we writers have a terrible history of trying to fix the barn door after the horse is five farms away. And while AI may not be a threat to writers today or even tomorrow, we should take contractual steps – more on that in a moment – to protect future writers for the day when AI is good enough to truly come for their jobs,” he wrote.