Science & Technology



Nina Metz: To AI or not to AI? It's not even a question -- Hollywood is embracing artificial intelligence

Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

The artificial intelligence text generator ChatGPT has been the subject of debate recently, but let’s take the AI conversation a step further, to Hollywood. More and more, I’m seeing examples of manipulated performances pop up on social media — altering an actor’s gaze or the words they’re saying — and it’s being presented with unmitigated enthusiasm.

Maybe the folks behind some of those posts have a vested interest in seeing AI technology become the norm. Expected. But where’s the skepticism? Where’s the wariness?

Let’s step into the breach.

Consider the Twitter user who grabbed a monologue from Hulu’s “The Bear” featuring Jeremy Allen White and used AI technology to change White’s line of sight. In the new video, instead of looking off camera, he’s making direct eye contact with the viewer. Both versions were posted side-by-side for comparison.

“Why are you doing this exactly?” someone asked. The original poster responded with a gif: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

The technology can be used on a live broadcast. Maybe that’s useful for video meetings or certain interview scenarios. But I also wonder if there are studio executives who’ve always thought actors were too precious about their performances and here’s a way to tweak some of that after the fact.


There’s another tweet floating around touting a different AI program that can seamlessly change an actor’s dialogue — from the use of a profanity to something more family friendly: “This is mind blowing technology. Generative AI will completely change how films are made.”

That’s probably a good bet.

But does that also sound like advertising copy to you? Are influencers being corralled to shape and steer the conversation? Because it is conspicuous that nobody is talking about ethical boundaries and how this technology should or shouldn’t be used.

The question of AI and ethics recently hit the world of Twitch streamers (gamers who stream their games live) when someone was caught, and subsequently apologized for, “buying and watching deepfakes from an account that makes non-consensual, sexually explicit AI-generated videos of his colleagues in the streaming world,” according to a report from Vice. To put it in simpler terms: AI was used to make porn of his friends. And he watched it.


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