Can you replace a scriptwriter with an algorithm?

Anton Andreacchio and Dr Lewis Mitchell sat down at Screen Forever to discuss the role of data in screen production, and whether robots will replace us all.

We live in an era of algorithms, SEO and data points. It’s affecting the way we live, work, communicate – and the way we make films. But how can we harness the all-powerful power of data for the better? This was the question of the hour at the Screen Forever panel ‘Can Robots Write More Successful Scripts?’. Featuring University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor in Applied Mathematics Dr Lewis Mitchell in conversation with Anton Andreacchio, Managing Director of Convergen, the panel offered a short answer to the question in the title pretty quickly: absolutely not! But the longer answer is much more interesting. 


Mitchell begins by demonstrating that even the most state of the art artificial intelligence still struggles to pull together cogent, let alone inspired, prose. He demonstrates the issue with GPT-3, an AI from the Elon Musk-backed company Open AI. GPT-3 is trained on a massive body of English-language text, from novels to Wikipedia, learning how to recreate not just the grammar, but also the syntax and tone of a wide variety of different prose styles.

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Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob