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OPINION
Columns
Opinion articles written in the style of their author. These texts are to be based on verified facts and must be respectful towards people, even though their actions may be criticized. All opinion articles written by individuals from outside the staff of EL PAÍS shall feature, along with the author’s name (regardless of their greater or lesser renown), a footer stating their office, academic title, political affiliation (if any) and main occupation, or the occupation related to the topic being assessed

AI, screenwriters and the writing on the wall

Ensnared in a web of screens, our lives wander aimlessly among comfortable convenience and meaninglessness

Huelga de guionistas en Hollywood
Writers Guild of America (WGA) picket line in front of Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles; April 2023.Kevork Djansezian (AP)
Jimina Sabadú

After 148 days on strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The 94-page agreement includes salary increases, minimum numbers of scriptwriters per project, and regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) use.

Geoffrey Hinton, one of the fathers of modern AI, said a few months ago that he regretted much of his work. As you undoubtedly know, Pandora’s Box (which is actually an amphora) cannot ever be closed, and it continues to pour curses on the world like inappropriate images of minors, disinformation, substandard academic papers, horrible translations and much, much more. The same old demons, but with much less effort.

AI, like all the evils of our time, will conquer us with comfortable convenience and meaningless nonsense. Everything deceptive, everything questionable, comes in seductive forms. Wouldn’t it be faster to do that job with ChatGPT? Why not get the milk delivered instead of going to the store? Look at this ad – buy it with just one click! And we are all so innocent, like Pinocchio on Pleasure Island.

Gradually, we find ourselves ensnared in the intricate web that has turned our lives into a purposeless and tormenting wandering from one screen to another. The distinction between more convenience and increasingly meaningless lives is rapidly blurring. Scriptwriters and actors realized in time that they could become dispensable in an industry that employs millions and generates billions. Yet it took them nearly six months to reach a deal. The rest of us should get wise: the writing is on the wall and we could be next.

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