Dr. Pradeep Mahapatra
A year after launch of Generative Artificial Intelligence in the public domain in November 2022, wide range of transformation is evident in different sectors of society by November 2023. Journalism, television and cinema could not escape from the change induced by the new technology. On onehand, efforts have been initiated to invest heavily to improve creativity utilising AI and on the otherhand opposition roar on prediction of job losses in the process.
Reports pour about experiments on utilization of Generative AI from screenplay writing to artist selection, creation of digital characters, scene recreation, visual effects, editing, sound effects and various post-production tasks in television and cinema in Hollywood studios.
At the same time ‘Writers Guild of America’ with 11,500 members went on strike for five months between May 2, 2023 and September 27, 2023 opposing use of AI in screenplay writing. Though employment conditions and remuneration figured in the charter of demands, resistance to AI was pushed to forefront. Mutual agreement to end the strike included to restrict use of AI in screenplay writing. It was decided to use AI only to enhance the quality of screenplay.
In an environment of experimentation on Generative AI worldwide, India is an active participant. Our country is marked with a positive attitude towards the new technology. While the labour force does not oppose the introduction, mid-career workers in India are interested to enhance their skill to achieve further productivity. Government of India and a number of state governments have announced schemes to encourage AI and start-up initiatives for the private sector.
A few examples on introduction of AI in television and cinema production surfaced during the last part of 2023. Audio-visual content production witnessed a huge transformation after release of AI enriched technology for content creators free-of-cost by Google owned YouTube. Screenplay writing, editing and video translation facilities enriched the video production experience.
Decrease in time consumption for making videos and instant translation into various languages result in production of more number of videos and reaching wider audience. The development help in increase of advertisement revenue for producers. It is being told that translation facilities for Indian languages in YouTube platform will reach 90 percent accuracy by December 2023.
Zee Entertainment Enterprisers achieved remarkable success in utilization of Generative AI in television content production during 2023. Bengaluru based Zee Technology Innovation Centre worked on integration of ChatGPT in various aspects of television and cinema production. About eight months of work resulted in preparation of software to review storyline, screenplay and dramatic effects for Hindi television serials.
Experts aware of the development mention that a technology named as ‘ScriptGPT’ has been trained with about 13 lakh data-points from 42,000 television serial episodes. It is enriched to review the content and predict acceptability by audiences on enquiry. It can also advise improvements and prepare original screenplays. The remarkable feature of the technology include absolutely no time taken to answer a command which usually consumed days, weeks and months of creative talent time.
Traditionally screenplay writing needed several drafts. A good script needed review by competent talents. The new technology of ‘ScriptGPT’ is all set to enable to enhance the quality of the content accessing audience reactions with experimentation with variables positioned from different angles. Since the technology is based on empirical data, there will be less dependence on qualitative hypothesis.
Upgrade of ‘ScriptGPT’ is underway by Zee Entertainment. They aim to increase training of the software up to one lakh episodes by 2024. Use of Generative AI warrants careful use of intellectual property rights. The technology need to be trained by a large amount of finished creative products to make it capable to generate or review new contents. Example of ‘ScriptGPT’ follows efforts by ‘Eros Now’ in association with Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai to prepare another AI tool for similar task solutions.
In the matter of use of Generative AI in screenplay writing for television and cinema in India a few aspects attract the attention of analysists. First, in Indian media landscape there are no opposition to use of the emerging technology. Secondly, instead of diminishing the role of script writers, the new technology helps to enhance the quality of their creativity. In the traditional setup there was little chance to review or evaluate a screenplay. Thirdly, better screenplays will produce better television programmes and cinema. It will attract more viewers that will ultimately translate into more revenue. All these aspects refer to the positive impact of Generative AI in television and cinema production.
(English translation of the original Odia newsletter by the author circulated on November 3, 2023. https://tinyletter.com/pradeepmahapatra/letters/message-326. It is an open-access content, free for translation and reproduction)
Dr. Pradeep Mahapatra is a retired faculty of Journalism, Berhampur University, Odisha.https://about.me/pradeepmahapatra
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