How Artificial Intelligence Might Change the Way Hollywood Tells Stories

The Grill 2018: Netflix shows AI is already “”ubiquitous,” says Poppy Crum

While artificial intelligence researcher Yves Bergquist believes we’re “far away” from AI being able to take over for screenwriters, he said Tuesday at The Grill 2018 that could still have tremendous impact on the kinds of stories that get made in Hollywood.

That’s in part due to how AI applications could help process “low level data” for studios that could help them think beyond their assumptions about what audiences will or will not embrace.

“If you look at the mathematical structure of narrative that’s been told in film or TV, you see there are not that many unique stories,” he said at the event, held at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. “I think what’s going on is creators are censoring themselves and telling the stories that are tried and true over and over and over again.”

“My hunch is that there are many, many, many more stories that are possible, desirable, that can be told,” he added.

Co-panelist Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories agreed about the potential for AI, noting that it is already “ubiquitous,” as evidenced by how Netflix curates content for its users based on what they watch.

“The ability to know what people really are feeling, what they’re really experiencing,” helps close “a loop between the creator and the consumer,” Crum said.

Yet as AI gains traction in Hollywood, there will be important “societal implications,” Bergquist said, that could negatively impact the workforce behind our favorite shows.

“Assistant editors will disappear because editing, the stuff they do today, will be automated,” Bergquist explained. “There’s lots of transformations in workflow that’ll affect jobs. And as a union, your job is to create a regulatory framework around jobs. You should really look at what aspects of my member base’s jobs are going to be affected by this technology.”

Crum echoed Bergquist’s sentiment, saying this was a “call to action for the entertainment industry” to safeguard its creators. With AI allowing studios to rework old dialogue to make new content, Crum said being “proactive” in knowing “how to protect content” will be vital.