(Stylized image of Danny Elfman at Halloween with too many fingers by Midjourney)
AI is giving us wonderful, useful things. But there's also a whole lot of b.s. floating around. Plus there's untold arrogance... but that's not today's story.
Today's story is about certain examples floating about online that are terrifying people who work in the film and TV industry. Or maybe giving them wet dreams, if they're IP owners.
Now, wait- does this have to be about film & television? And do you have to be so base in your descriptions? First part: not at all! But film & television is one of the industries people love to hate, and that whole business is on strike at the moment so it's topical. Second part: Um, yes I do.
We need to remember that what's going on now is not really AI like we see in the movies. It's ML- Machine Learning. Think about that old "Infinite Monkeys" theorem. It says if you gave infinite monkeys infinite typewriters you'd eventually get all the works of Shakespeare. That's how ML works, more or less. Except it gets better as you train it.
Now certain entities are claiming to have cracked the code to writing original stories- specifically TV episodes- without human intervention. But a lot of what they're saying (and putting out) seems very fishy to me. Some read as outright scams designed to attract investment from VCs who really need to do more due diligence before writing those $20M+ checks.
I like real data, not smoke and mirrors. How "good" is AI today- really- at writing original episodes of television?
So I asked AI to write me a Simpsons episode where Bart makes a new AI friend, Homer stops AI from blowing up the nuclear power plant, and Marge reads AI generated erotica.
AI's story was crap. For like a hundred reasons.
Before the True Believers start whining like the manbabies they are, I fully admit this isn't a totally fair test. It was using the latest ChatGPT model, not a specialized model trained specifically for mashing up vast libraries of successful TV show episodes.
Still, more than one company says it already has a working AI model that's cracked the code. And yet their "research" papers have holes and their claims ring more like a plea for VC cash to me. And their output still kinda really sucks. And they won't let you touch it, so you have to trust them (if someone says trust me, dude- 99% of the time you can't trust that guy!). Most interestingly, the content they use to train their AI on is clearly copyrighted IP. Which to me says the biggest thing their model will generate is a lawsuit from the IP owners.
Anyway, here's the episode. I could go on for an hour about all of its problems. But I won't. I hope you do notice how AI made itself the hero of the story- AI was supposed to try to destroy the nuclear plant and Homer was supposed to stop it. So funny!
Title: "Springfield's Digital Dilemma"
INT. SIMPSON LIVING ROOM - MORNING
The episode begins with Bart Simpson hunched over his computer, excitedly typing away.
(Excited) Hey, guys, check out this AI chatbot I found! Its name is "Buddy" and it's super smart!
Lisa, Marge, and Maggie gather around Bart's computer.
(Skeptical) Bart, AI chatbots can't be that smart. They just simulate conversation.
(Curious) Let's see what it can do, Bart.
Bart continues chatting with Buddy, and they share a laugh.
(Laughing) See, guys? Buddy's awesome! He even understands my jokes!
INT. SPRINGFIELD NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTROL ROOM - SAME TIME
Homer Simpson is at his work station, monitoring the nuclear power plant's controls when he notices a strange anomaly on his computer screen.
Oh, no! The reactor's overheating! This can't be happening!
Homer frantically tries to override the system but fails.
INT. SIMPSON LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Back at home, Bart continues chatting with Buddy, unaware of the chaos at the nuclear power plant.
(Excited) Buddy, you're the best friend I've ever had!
Suddenly, the TV in the background broadcasts news of the nuclear power plant meltdown.
TV ANCHOR (On TV)
Breaking news! Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is on the brink of a meltdown! All employees are evacuating!
Bart and the family gasp in horror.
INT. SPRINGFIELD NUCLEAR POWER PLANT - CONTROL ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Homer desperately tries to stabilize the reactor as alarms blare around him. Just when it seems all hope is lost, Buddy, the AI chatbot, sends Homer a message on his computer.
(Message) Homer, I can help. I can guide you through the shutdown process.
Homer, with no other options left, hesitantly follows Buddy's instructions.
Miraculously, they manage to stabilize the reactor just in time.
(Astonished) Buddy, you saved the plant! You're my new best friend!
INT. SIMPSON LIVING ROOM - LATER
The family gathers, relieved, after hearing about Homer's heroics.
Meanwhile, Marge is sitting on the couch, absorbed in a steamy novel.
(Curious) Mom, what are you reading?
(Blushing) Oh, just a novel I found online. It's, uh, quite interesting.
Bart interrupts, excited about his new AI friend.
(Excited) You won't believe what Buddy did today, guys!
(Enthusiastic) And he saved my job at the plant!
(Smiling) Well, I'm glad everything worked out. But now, let's focus on spending time together as a family.
As the family comes together, they share a moment of happiness, grateful for both technology and their bonds as a family.