2008-02-03

AI remedy for the Writers Guild strike?

The Writers Guild of America strike worries you? You’re afraid that you’ll never get to watch your favorite TV series again and all you’ve got left is “Dynasty” or “Little House on the Prairie”? Well, maybe there is hope!

If you believe Alex Hung, author of this article, it should be possible to develop a software program which would generate TV scripts based on previous episodes. At first the scripts would probably not very good, but in time it should get better. It could particularly work for shows such as Law & Order, CSI or Numbers (great series by the way), where almost everything stays the same from episode to episode with only minor plot device differences in between.

“What we need”, Alex Hung writes, “are:
-Characters in the series and their attributes (gender, personality, etc.)
-Tons of previous scripts
-The series formula, e.g. The new clue to solve the case between minutes 39 and 40 in Law & Order, or CSI.
-A genetic algorithm that learns the characteristic of the series through all the existing episodes, e.g. how each character behaves, their favorite catchphrases, and how the general plot line evolves. For many shows, just the catchphrase would suffice.
-A software bot to trawl the net for bizarre news as seed to generate new stories”.

Although the idea seems interesting, maybe it would be better – and cheaper – to simply hire budding writers? C’mon, the viewers are waiting!