Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker defends the series’ move to Netflix and explains why AI won’t replace him.
The debate around Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t going away anytime soon, but Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker isn’t convinced that it will ever be able to replace “messy” writers such as himself.
During a recent panel at Sydney’s International Convention Centre SXSW event (via The Guardian), Charlie Booker spoke about the time he used ChatGPT to write an AI episode of Black Mirror. At first he was terrified, but quickly realized that the story it generated was boring and derivative.
“I said to ChatGPT, ‘Go give me an outline for a Black Mirror story,’” Booker said. “And as it’s coming through in the first couple of sentences you feel a cold spike of fear, like animal terror. Like I’m being f**king replaced. I’m not even gonna see what it does. I’m gonna jump out the f**king window. Then as it carries on you go, ‘Oh this is boring. I was frightened a sec ago, now I’m bored because this is so derivative.”
Booker continued, “It’s just emulating something. It’s Hoovered up every description of every Black Mirror episode, presumably from Wikipedia and other things that people have written, and it’s just sort of vomiting that back at me. It’s pretending to be something it isn’t capable of being.” While AI can be a powerful tool, Booker said that he “can’t quite see it replacing messy people.“
The Black Mirror creator also responded to criticisms that the series has been watered down since it moved to Netflix starting with the third season. “One of the criticisms we sometimes get is, ‘I prefer the show when it was British and everyone in it was miserable and everything smelled a little bit of shit and all the stories were horrible,’” Booker said. “And then it’s gone to Netflix and suddenly everything’s sunny and happy and everyone has wonderful teeth, and it’s full of Hollywood stars and it’s lost that edge.” Booker understands the criticisms, but said that Netflix had little to do with the change, he simply wanted to appeal to a more international audience and “not just keep doing bleak-a-thons.“
The sixth season of Black Mirror debuted on Netflix this summer, but Booker didn’t say when fans can expect a seventh.