Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has revealed that he recently had ChatGPT attempt to write an episode of his hit sci-fi dystopian thriller series, but the AI chatbot couldn’t deliver.
In a new interview with Empire magazine, Brooker says he “toyed around with ChatGPT a bit.”
“The first thing I did was type ‘generate Black Mirror episode’ and it comes up with something that, at first glance, reads plausibly, but on second glance, is shit,” he says.
“Because all it’s done is look up all the synopses of Black Mirror episodes, and sort of mush them together. Then if you dig a bit more deeply you go, ‘Oh, there’s not actually any real original thought here.’ It’s [1970s impressionist] Mike Yarwood — there’s a topical reference.”
Brooker is one of many creatives in the entertainment industry who have voiced their dissatisfaction with ChatGPT’s purported superpowers. In fact, it is one of the Writers Guild of America’s main concerns. Nick Cave has twice slammed ChatGPT, saying that it should “fuck off” and that AI systems would never be able to replace art.
However, the Black Mirror creator said that giving ChatGPT a trial run made him reflect on his own body of work: “I was aware that I had written lots of episodes where someone goes ‘Oh, I was inside a computer the whole time!’”
“So I thought, ‘I’m just going to chuck out any sense of what I think a Black Mirror episode is.’ There’s no point in having an anthology show if you can’t break your own rules. Just a sort of nice, cold glass of water in the face.”
We asked ChatGPT to write Black Mirror
To test out Brooker’s claims about ChatGPT, we went to the chatbot and asked it to write a Black Mirror episode.
On the first try, we entered the prompt: “Hey there ChatGPT, please generate a convincing and original Black Mirror episode.”
The chatbot came back with a story titled ‘The Echo Chamber’ with a plot that reads like something that could very well happen in real life. Yet, it lacks a Charlie Brooker-style twist.
On the second try, we entered the prompt: “Hey ChatGPT, please generate an original Black Mirror episode in the style of Charlie Brooker.”
ChatGPT came back with a script titled ‘Re:Wire Investigation’, which looks like it’s inspired by Elon Musk’s Neuralink. The script also reads like a mish mash of generic lines, like: “We need to investigate this. We need to know the truth.”
So, it looks like Charlie Brooker is right that ChatGPT lacks that human touch crucial for good art. Probably for the best.