‘Black Mirror’ Creator Says ChatGPT Wrote a ‘S—‘ Episode When He Tested It: No ‘Real Original Thought’

“All it’s done is look up all the synopses of ‘Black Mirror’ episodes,” Charlie Brooker said of the chatbot in a new interview


Charlie Brooker, creator of the Netflix series ‘Black Mirror,’ recently asked ChatGPT to write him an episode of the dystopian anthology series, and he wasn’t impressed with the results.

“I’ve toyed around with ChatGPT a bit,” Brooker said to Empire in an article released Tuesday. “The first thing I did was type ‘generate ‘Black Mirror’ episode’ and it comes up with something that, at first glance, reads plausibly, but on second glance, is shit. Because all it’s done is look up all the synopses of ‘Black Mirror’ episodes, and sort of mush them together. Then if you dig a bit more deeply you go, ‘Oh, there’s not actually any real original thought here.’ It’s [1970s impressionist] Mike Yarwood — there’s a topical reference.”

The chatbot, created by developer OpenAI, is a large language model, meaning it only mimics the large quantities of pre-existing texts it consumes from across the internet. It is not, despite claims to the contrary, artificial intelligence of any kind.

ChatGPT has been the subject of much trepidation in Hollywood as the Writers Guild strike continues into its second month. Writers are fighting to implement safeguards that would prevent AI from replacing them in writers’ rooms, with ChatGPT being a primary talking point. Brooker hasn’t been the only one to put the chatbot to the test, only to come to the conclusion that it isn’t up to the task quite yet (H/T writer Kylie Brakeman on Twitter):

Brooker said the experiment wasn’t a total waste of time, however, as it highlighted some of the repeated tropes the show has returned to over its five seasons – ones he aimed to avoid in its upcoming sixth season on Netflix.

“I was aware that I had written lots of episodes where someone goes ‘Oh, I was inside a computer the whole time!’”, he chuckles. “So I thought, ‘I’m just going to chuck out any sense of what I think a ‘Black Mirror’ episode is.’ There’s no point in having an anthology show if you can’t break your own rules. Just a sort of nice, cold glass of water in the face.”

‘Black Mirror,’ a science fiction anthology series which mines anxieties about technology to examine moral and ethical behavior, has its season 6 premiere June 15 on Netflix.