Opinion: Writers Strike Might be Tip of the Iceberg When it Comes to the Looming AI Threat

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It’s just my opinion…

One thing affecting life in Burbank is the current writer’s strike against the studios and production companies. Every time you drive by Warner Bros. or Disney, you see them with their pickets.

Do they want to be picketing? No. But they have no choice when it comes to changing technologies.

To start, the last time they settled, streaming was in its early stages. Usually, when a writer signed on to a show, they would produce 22 episodes. Now, streamers like the eight to them episode seasons, leaving writers searching for jobs to fill the long gaps between seasons.

And if the changing times in the number of episodes being produced is not a major issue in itself, AI has just reared its head and promises to change many things in our lives.

Let’s show you an example. Let’s ask ChatGPT to write a script for us. Here is what I am going to ask: “Write a screenplay about two college friends who decide to take a year off and travel the United States, getting into different adventures.”

Here is what it spit out in 22 seconds:

Title: Crossroads Chronicles

Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Drama

Logline: Two college friends, Alex and Max, tired of the mundane college routine, decide to take a year off and embark on an epic road trip across the United States. As they traverse the country, they find themselves in a series of hilarious and heartwarming adventures that test their friendship, challenge their perspectives, and lead them to unexpected self-discovery.

INT. ALEX’S DINGY APARTMENT – NIGHT

Alex, an adventurous spirit with a backpack slung over his shoulder, excitedly waves a brochure at Max, his best friend and roommate.

ALEX: (maximally enthused) Dude! Look at this! The Great American Road Trip! I say we take a year off and see everything this country has to offer.

Max, the more cautious and practical of the two, eyes the brochure skeptically.

MAX: You know I love an adventure, but a whole year off? Are you sure about this?

Alex convinces Max with an infectious grin and a promise of unforgettable memories.

EXT. ALEX’S APARTMENT – DAY

Alex and Max load up their beat-up van, fondly named “Wanderlust,” with camping gear, maps, and a cooler filled with snacks.

INT. WANDERLUST – DAY

The friends hit the open road, cruising through the breathtaking landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.

EXT. MOUNTAINOUS ROAD – DAY

The van breaks down on a remote mountain road. Alex and Max, both clueless about cars, find themselves in a hilarious predicament as they try to fix the engine.

INT. DINER – DAY

Alex and Max meet ALICE, a free-spirited waitress, who becomes smitten with Alex’s charm. She joins them for a few days of their journey, sparking a romantic tension between the three.

EXT. DESERTED HIGHWAY – DAY

While driving through the desert, the friends encounter a quirky hitchhiker named OSCAR, who claims to have an extraordinary secret. Intrigued, they decide to help Oscar on his mission, leading them to a hidden treasure buried in an abandoned ghost town.

INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY

In a bustling city, Alex and Max stumble upon a coffee shop where they meet LUCAS, a struggling artist with big dreams. Inspired by his story, the friends organize a local art show to help Lucas showcase his talent and gain recognition.

EXT. BEACH – DAY

Seeking a break from their journey, Alex and Max spend a day at the beach, where they participate in an impromptu sandcastle-building contest. Despite their lack of skill, they end up winning the hearts of the locals with their enthusiasm and creativity.

INT. MOUNTAIN CABIN – NIGHT

During a winter retreat, Alex and Max get snowed in at a cozy mountain cabin. They engage in deep conversations about their dreams, fears, and the future, strengthening their bond and understanding of each other.

EXT. NATIONAL PARK – DAY

In the awe-inspiring setting of a national park, Alex and Max encounter a group of environmental activists protesting against deforestation. Deeply moved, they join the cause, organizing a benefit concert to raise awareness and funds for conservation efforts.

INT. GRAND CANYON – SUNSET

Alex and Max stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, reflecting on their journey and the life-changing experiences they’ve had. They realize that their road trip was more than just an adventure; it was a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and embracing the beauty of the world around them.

FADE OUT.

Scary, huh? It gave it a title, named the characters, and even named the van they traveled in. You can go back and ask it to refine or add things to it very quickly.

Now let’s ask it to write a song to accompany our show. I will ask, “Make it into a rock song song”. Here is what we got:

Title: Roadbound Melodies

Verse 1: (Heavy guitar riff)

In a dingy apartment, our dreams were set ablaze, Alex and Max, best friends, plotting their own maze. Tired of college norms, they yearned to break free, A year-long odyssey, cross this land, they decree.

Chorus: (Upbeat and energetic) We’re roadbound, chasing melodies of the wild, Two souls intertwined, adventure’s our guide. From coast to coast, where the highways collide, Road warriors we become, with the stars as our guide.

Verse 2: (Vibrant guitar solo)

Wanderlust revs up, the engine roars to life, Through forests and mountains, they embrace the wild strife. Their rusty van, a vessel for epic tales, Wherever they roam, destiny unfurls her sails.

Chorus: We’re roadbound, chasing melodies of the wild, Two souls intertwined, adventure’s our guide. From coast to coast, where the highways collide, Road warriors we become, with the stars as our guide.

Bridge: (Emotional guitar interlude)

On desert highways, they meet a hitchhiker’s gaze, Oscar’s secret unraveled, a treasure in a haze. They dance ‘neath city lights, a coffee shop affair, Helping Lucas find his voice, friendship blooms in the air.

Chorus: We’re roadbound, chasing melodies of the wild, Two souls intertwined, adventure’s our guide. From coast to coast, where the highways collide, Road warriors we become, with the stars as our guide.

Verse 3: (Powerful guitar and drum combo)

From snowed-in cabins to national park stands, Their spirits ignited by activists’ demands. They strum guitars by the fire, sharing their souls, Each step of this journey, a tale to be told.

Chorus: We’re roadbound, chasing melodies of the wild, Two souls intertwined, adventure’s our guide. From coast to coast, where the highways collide, Road warriors we become, with the stars as our guide.

Outro: (Fading guitar solo)

At the Grand Canyon’s edge, they find their truest grace, Bound by friendship’s fire, memories they embrace. Their yearning hearts forever marked by the sights, Roadbound melodies, echoes through the nights.

(Gradually fades out)

Wait, you say you’re not a rock fan but want a rap version? No problem. We will tell it to “Change it to a rap song.”

Title: Crossroads Expedition

Verse 1: (Upbeat hip-hop beat)

Yo, in a cramped apartment, we hatched a plan, Alex and Max, two friends with a hunger to expand. College life got us feelin’ like we’re stuck in a cage, So we packed our bags, ready to set the stage.

Chorus: We on a crossroads expedition, breaking tradition, Exploring the States, no time for inhibition. From coast to coast, every city and town, We’re making moves, leaving our mark all around.

Verse 2: (Hard-hitting rap flow)

Wanderlust ride, we’re cruisin’ on the highway, Chasing dreams, nothin’ standin’ in our way. Breakdowns and detours, we fix it like pros, Mechanics on the road, yeah, that’s how it goes.

Chorus: We on a crossroads expedition, breaking tradition, Exploring the States, no time for inhibition. From coast to coast, every city and town, We’re making moves, leaving our mark all around.

Verse 3: (Faster rap flow)

Met a waitress named Alice, she caught our eyes, Joined our crew, sparks flew, the vibe intensified. In a desert oasis, we picked up Oscar the wise, Uncovering secrets, chasing dreams in disguise.

Coffee shop artists, we met Lucas on the grind, Organized a show, his talent we would find. Sandcastles at the beach, we built ’em to the sky, Winning hearts with creativity, no need to ask why.

Chorus: We on a crossroads expedition, breaking tradition, Exploring the States, no time for inhibition. From coast to coast, every city and town, We’re making moves, leaving our mark all around.

Verse 4: (Swift rap flow)

Snowed-in cabins, deep conversations we had, Friendship fortified, bonds never go bad. Environmental warriors, fighting for the trees, Benefit concerts, raising awareness with ease.

Grand Canyon sunset, reflections of our quest, Journey of a lifetime, we’re truly blessed. Roadbound melodies, etched in our souls, Crossroads expedition, united, we roll.

Chorus: We on a crossroads expedition, breaking tradition, Exploring the States, no time for inhibition. From coast to coast, every city and town, We’re making moves, leaving our mark all around.

Outro: (Slow fade-out with the beat)

Crossroads expedition, yeah, we conquered the land, Living life on our terms, according to our plan. Through adventures and trials, we found who we are, Road warriors forever, under the same stars.

There was no skill to this. I have never written and screenplay or a snog (and I still have not!). This is what writers are fighting for. And while songwriting is not part of this, it will soon be for that industry.

Recently, I needed to create a countdown timer for our website. Instead of paying a web designer to go in and create the html and Java script code, I asked my new trusty assistant, ChatGPT, to create it. All I had to type was, “Create a countdown timer for 30 days day in HTML.” And here is what it gave me:

Certainly! Here’s an example of a countdown timer for 30 days using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript:

Save this code in an HTML file and open it in a web browser. It will display a countdown timer starting from the current date and time, and it will count down for 30 days. Once the 30-day period is over, it will display the message “Countdown Finished.”

Easy as that, 20 seconds later, I had a code I could copy and paste into our front page and saved probably a couple of hundred dollars.

This is why the writer’s strike is essential to those who pen our favorite shows. I dare you to watch an awards ceremony and not hear the actors thank ‘the incredible writers’ who wrote the script. We must protect them against the technology that is creeping into our lives.

AI is a real thing and just starting. It will drive our cars, it may fly our planes, it will create video and photography, and who knows what else. How many jobs will be lost in the next 20 years?

If you don’t support the writers, you may be the next one on strike or out of a job when AI takes its sights on you.