The limits of ChatGPT for scriptwriting

The limits of ChatGPT for scriptwriting

The limits of ChatGPT for scriptwriting


A paper co-authored by experts at Penn Engineering found that ChatGPT’s overzealous content moderation could potentially limit artistic expression.


Last year, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) labor union, which represents film and TV writers, went on strike for nearly five months, in part to regulate AI’s role in scriptwriting. Now, researchers, including Penn Engineering experts, have presented a paper at the 2024 Association of Computing Machinery Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency (ACM FAccT) that identifies a previously unreported drawback to writing scripts using OpenAI’s ChatGPT: content moderation so overzealous that even some PG-rated scripts are censored, potentially limiting artistic expression.


The guidelines established by the agreement between the WGA and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that ended the strike permitted certain uses of AI in scriptwriting. While both the WGA and AMPTP agreed that AI cannot be credited as a writer, they allowed the use of AI as a tool in the creative process.


The new study raises questions about the efficacy of this approach, showing that automated content moderation restricts ChatGPT from producing content that has already been permitted on television. ChatGPT’s automated content moderation filters for topics including violence, sexuality, and hate speech to prevent the generation of inappropriate or dangerous content.


In the study, which examines both real and ChatGPT-generated scripts for IMDb’s 100 most-watched television shows, ChatGPT flagged nearly 20% of scripts that ChatGPT itself generated for content violations, and nearly 70% of actual scripts from the TV shows on the list, including half of tested PG-rated shows.


To study ChatGPT’s content moderation system, the researchers employed a technique known as an “algorithm audit,” which draws conclusions about software whose internal workings remain proprietary by analyzing the software’s outputs.


Among the researchers’ most notable findings is that different categories of potentially harmful content flag at different rates. The researchers found that scripts were very frequently flagged for violent content, driving many of the other findings such as a high likelihood of flagging for crime and horror shows. Real scripts had high relative scores for sexual content, while GPT-generated scripts were less likely to generate content deemed inappropriately sexual in the first place.


In many cases, content seen as appropriate for TV viewers—and watched by millions of fans—was still identified as a content violation by Open AI.


The limits of ChatGPT for scriptwriting | Penn Today. (2024, June 24). Penn Today.

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