Not just anyone or anything can make it in Hollywood, according to Justine Bateman.
The former “Family Ties” actress and accredited director is adamant artificial intelligence should not have its shot.
“I think AI has no place in Hollywood at all. To me, tech should solve problems that humans have,” Batemen told Fox News Digital. “Using ChatGPT or any … software that’s using AI to write screenplays, using that in place of a writer is not solving a problem. We don’t have a lack of writers. We don’t have a lack of actors. We don’t have a lack of directors. We don’t have a lack of talented people.”
Bateman’s comments come amid the Hollywood writers’ strike, with AI being one of the many concerns. Bateman says the convergence of artificial intelligence and the entertainment industry is negatively impacting human nature.
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“The use of AI makes me sad because I feel like it’s … getting away from being human,” she explained.
“But we’ve been doing a lot of that, right? Plastic surgery. Filters. Doing things over Zoom instead of in person. But the idea that somebody would use AI to replace human expression, I think, is the saddest thing to me.
“I think AI has no place in Hollywood at all. To me, tech should solve problems that humans have.”
“To ask a computer programmer … to write a letter that you wanted to write or to write an essay for you or to write a script for you is just like, ‘Wow, that’s so much a part of being a human, is to express yourself through writing or artwork or whatever it is. … That’s the saddest thing to me is … just people pulling away from being human.”
Bateman also believes that AI poses a monetary concern, one rooted in greed.
“Incredible amounts of money are made off of our work. Incredible profits are made off of our work. But what if you could make even greater profit? What if you could get rid of the pesky overhead of paying for the directors and the actors and the writers and the locations, the production, the post-production? What if you just get rid of all of that? Can you imagine how much larger your profit could be? That’s the road we’re going down,” Bateman says.
“The entertainment business is not going to do it better. It’s just going to do it faster, less expensively, and you will have a greater volume of it. You’ll have more content. And, like, even referring to films and series as content to begin with, I think is … insulting.
“Lucasfilms scans all their actors,” she says of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’ production company. “I suppose, for special effects or the Carrie Fisher role, maybe? We want to make sure that, in case you pass away, we still have you.”
The late Carrie Fisher was digitally edited in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film after her death.
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“So that’s been going on for a long time,” Bateman said, “but the difference now is that AI is so much more advanced. You can take advantage. … So you can take advantage of those scans more completely than you could five years ago.”
In the upcoming film, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” artificial intelligence is used to reimagine Harrison Ford’s face as if he were still 35 years old.
“I personally think you have … a real problem with the way actors move,” Bateman suggests as a caveat to de-aging.
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“If it’s a 75-year-old actor, and you’re de-aging them to be like 30, but their body still moves like they’re 75 years old. I mean … I’m not sure that you’ve accomplished what you set out to accomplish. But that’s the director’s prerogative. So, I don’t know. Maybe there is a case to be made for that. But that’s not what’s going on here,” she says of AI’s evolvement.
Given the current climate that includes a nearly month-long writers’ strike spearheaded by the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), Bateman calls attention to a problem many writers’ fear — their work will be stolen.
“It’s more complex than what I’m about to say, but you basically … feed it a bunch of information, you give it a task and then, based on the information it has, it gives you the result,” she says of AI programming. “It accomplishes the task you gave it. … If you’re asking it to write a screenplay, what are you training it on? What are you feeding it? Other people’s scripts. That’s plagiarism. … The use of it is going to have an incredibly bad effect — disastrous effect on the entertainment business.”
The WGA has a litany of concerns and requests for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Per its website, the WGA has specific proposals with regard to artificial intelligence, including the “regulation of AI on minimum basic agreement (MBA)-covered projects; AI can’t write or rewrite literary material; can’t be used as source material; and MBA-covered material can’t be used to train AI.”
On the other side, some in the entertainment industry have spoken out about concerns being less in artificial intelligence and more with compensation.
Paul Schrader, the famed screenwriter of “Taxi Driver” and director of “American Gigolo,” previously wrote on Facebook: “The WGA position on AI is a fascinating conundrum. The guild doesn’t fear AI as much as it fears not getting paid. Burrow into the logic. It’s apparent that AI will become a force in film entertainment.
“This, I think, is the WGA position: If a WGA member employs AI, he/she should be paid as a writer. If a producer uses AI to create a script, they must find a WGA writer to pay.”
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However, Bateman argues that’s simply not the case because she knows how to write.
“I don’t need an AI program to, like, come up with stuff for me,” Bateman said. “Like, that just sounds ridiculous to me. It’s like [to] have somebody work out for you or something if you enjoy working out, right?
“I hope I’m absolutely wrong. I would love nothing more than to be totally wrong about this.”