A group of filmmakers used ChatGPT to write and direct The Safe Zone, a short 7-minute film, that is the first of its kind and a potential harbinger of what's to come.
Another step towards humanity giving way to an all-powerful AI has been achieved thanks to a small team of filmmakers using ChatGPT to create a short movie, recently shared on YouTube. Richard Juan and Aaron Kemmer, together with cinematographer Odyssey Flores, selected from over 100 potential scripts created by the popular AI software. After selecting a script, the team used ChatGPT to create step-by-step shots, cast positions, camera angles, lighting, and the focus of each shot, even referring to the software for guidance on props and example shots.
The team of humans taking direction from ChatGPT settled on The Safe Zone, a short movie about siblings confronted with the news that an AI is about to enslave all of humanity. With a cast of four that mostly served double duty behind the camera, the team made sure to take all directions from the AI program, combined with the DALL-E2 program, owned by the same company as ChatGPT, to develop a storyboard. The writing is not the best, though the line “they met at a BTS concert” is pretty good in a Ned Breene/Ed Wood sort of way, but overall the final result resembles a decent student film.
ChatGPT, since being publicly released in November, has been used by students, social media managers, writers, and other creative artists pushing the boundaries of what the program can handle, from movies, scripts, comic books, and even music. As of now, researchers, academics, and creatives all agree that the program is missing a certain depth to its writing that makes it clear an AI is responsible. For now, going by the quality of The Safe Zone, creative jobs are still safe from being taken by AI, but that may not always be the case.
The Safe Zone may highlight the shortcomings of ChatGPT with regard to directing a movie, but it also shows how useful the technology can be to augment, not replace. Juan and Kemmer’s team followed ChatGPT to the letter, but if instead of conducting an experiment they were focused on the quality of the end result, they could have made adjustments and tweaks using the AI as a foundation. The ability to run through hundreds of possibilities in a fraction of the time it would take human writers, or testing multiple camera and lighting setups, could greatly assist filmmakers as they are starting out.
ChatGPT, to some, even in its current form that can not pass a Turing Test, still represents an existential threat to humanity as a whole. The Singularity, a theoretical point at which AI will surpass humanity’s collective intelligence, is widely feared by futurists, including the late Stephen Hawking. While the potential Singularity could result in Battlestar Galactica or Terminator Salvation going from science fiction to reality, other futurists are actively working on AI systems despite the warnings from others.
One of those futurists is Elon Musk, current CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, who is also one of the biggest supporters of Open AI, a nonprofit dedicated to creating AIs that will benefit humanity. Open AI happens to be the owner of ChatGPT, giving people another reason to either like or hate Musk, depending on how they feel about AI. For now, instead of hastening our inevitable destruction, ChatGPT can be used to help support creative endeavors, pushing the boundaries of what can be done, and specifically, what a small team of movie makers can achieve compared to the resources of established studios.