EXCLUSIVE: The direct effect AI can have on our lives and the future of storytelling was the topic discussed during the central keynote on the last day of the industry program Eastern Promises at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
We have a new player in town and he’s not going anywhere, said veteran creative consultant Tatjana Samopjan, summarizing the place of AI in our lives.
In the panel hosted by Deadline as part of the Industry Days program, Samopjan was joined by Gerhard Maier, program director and co-founder of Seriencamp, and Julia Schafdecker, lawyer of SKW Schwarz.
Introducing the lengthy session, Maier identified the two main forms of Artificial Intelligence, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and narrow AI, as well as their structural differences.
Artificial General Intelligence is what people like Elon Musk and the bosses of Google are talking about right now. It’s about trying to create a machine that thinks like a human being, Maier said.
It is the great holy grail of AI research. Depending on who you talk to, it’s a couple of months or decades away. People don’t know. And the thing that we’ve most likely interacted with over the last few years and ChatGPT and Midjourney are just two examples of how it’s being used is narrow AI. These are mainly algorithms trained to perform a certain task.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to artificial intelligence, Maier later concluded, is that the technology is growing exponentially, which means its level of sophistication is increasing rapidly. This untapped growth will, of course, have a direct impact on the industry and our personal lives. First, Maier added, there will be what she described as a work crisis.
Many jobs and tasks assigned to a couple of specialists or specialized departments can be streamlined and made redundant, Maier said. I’ve seen this before with people who worked for large sales companies who employed three people to create pitch papers for international markets. This is now done by one person and no graphic designer is involved. There is no longer any photo boy involved. It’s all done by one person. This also applies to editing, art direction, and many other fields where one person can do the work that maybe two or three or four people used to do.
As we’ve reported, the reality of a so-called job crunch was one of the most pressing issues on the negotiating table for WGA during its protracted contract negotiations with the studios. The WGA wants safeguards in place to prevent studios from using AI to generate new scripts from previous work.
A few years ago, it would have seemed inconceivable that AI could replicate the work of TV and film scriptwriters, but the rise of ChatGPT and other services that can glean decades of content and re-create it has shown it could be closer than ever. However, Samopjan argued in his unique talk that this exact process is what makes technology unfit for creation for humans.
If you drink the best wine out there, you’ll have the best taste. But if you drink a liter or two a day, are you a connoisseur or an alcoholic? We are fanatics of labor history. And paradoxically, consuming too many stories won’t make you a great storyteller, he said she.
The way to deal with AI later is to get good at entering reality. Not to rely on stories, but from time to time, to live fully. And we would see that whatever lived experience we will have enough ambivalence, nuance, paradox and confusion that will provide a rich source material to create something original.
He then added: The best artists are the closest we have to mystics. The best artists see through the bullshit. They see through the constructions of their own mind. It is a skill that must be maintained in the age of technology.
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