How Artificial Intelligence Could Impact Diversity In TV Writers’ Rooms

Editorial Note: Opinions are those of the author, not AfroTech.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly and deeply infiltrating our daily lives – from getting the weather from smart speakers to now taking orders at local drive-thru restaurants. AI has become part of our daily routines faster than many of us could have predicted.

Now the Writers Guild (WGA) strike is well under way, and many headlines are about generating AI adoption. It was beyond our morals. All around, there should be concern about how AI will continue to disrupt our media landscape and representation in particular. Indeed, setting parameters around the use of AI is part of the WGA’s strike demands, regulating the use of AI technology to prevent AI from being used as source material, or to rewrite textual material, among other tasks that the technology could complete instead of real writers.

As described by Misa Makwa Masokameng. afropunk, The chatgpty-generated scene African-American mother and son’s conversation about Rosa Parks isn’t just a first pass, but the right changes and human knowledge can turn it into a moving piece.

“AI-generated jobs will affect all writers,” Masokameng wrote. “But for black writers marginalized by structural and institutional racism, the implications of AI widening the racial gap in the writing class are dire.”

In fact, for Nielsen’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion research project, we looked at the impact The presence of black women in writers A segment on the most representative dramas for black women on TV. For these successful programs, it was not just a visual representation on the screen. The most representative TV dramas featuring black women on screen have an average of 15% black female writers in their program credits. There was a clear difference in the context of how these inclusive programs presented black women – themes like justice, power and attractiveness while black women were often portrayed on TV with themes like race and competition.

History is one thing, but can AI tell the story of today’s civil rights abuses and struggles? Can he tell those stories carefully and carefully? Ultimately, the answer will be “yes.”

But the economics of “just let AI do it” affects black talent, especially writers. Research from Think about inclusion and fairness It shows that writers of historically excluded groups are more likely to write for lower-level workers. WGA It ranks the percentage of black writers. 15.5% in the industry, but according to Nielsen data, the share of black people in TV programs is about 21%.

This means that the ratio of non-black storytellers, journalists or commentators telling black stories is already skewed. AI may take away the precious few opportunities for black people to learn, grow and succeed in the industry. And when it comes to cost-effective staffing cuts, the option of black talent to stay, quit and lay off won’t even be in the room. .

So, who is left to edit and train the model? Will there be a powerful enough representation in the class to recognize stereotypical tropes, let alone steer the AI ​​away from them? Executives are already angry about how far writers can go with their content, especially on themes that address or combat racism or social justice. AI can learn to stop those scenes, those characters, and those storylines altogether, among other critical missteps that affect diversity and representation. That’s shocking when Nielsen’s data already shows black audiences are too. most likely Looking for diverse content, but most black audiences feel underrepresented in what they see.

The media industry needs to take a hard look at its implications not just for the future, but for the actual impact it is having today – good or bad.

Charlene Pollitt Corley is Vice President of Insights and Partnerships at Nielsen. As part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team, Charlene’s research and thought leadership support both social and business issues to highlight the power and influence of Black audiences, demonstrate media trends among historically underserved communities, and represent issues of representation.


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