We need to talk about A.I.

We need to talk about A.I.

(Illustration by Lucinda Schreiber + Photoplay)

Written by Photoplay.


After a few disturbing brushes with Chatbots and generative artificial intelligence programs like Midjourney we realised the need to address the growing elephant in the room… A.I. stepping into writers’ and visual artists’ seats and well beyond.

As a group of filmmakers who founded a production company over 12 years ago, we’ve been on a journey that’s made us cherish the craft involved in the process of what we do as creators and filmmakers more and more. The recent big step of A.I. into the creative sphere (rather than where it was expected) poses an existential challenge for all of us.

This is not by any means an outright rejection of all things A.I. This shouldn’t be mistaken for luddism, we’re aware that in its many and varied forms A.I. is inextricably linked to our working lives and practices. It’s more a chance to acknowledge the people who have gotten us here and recognise them for their work, talent, professionalism, friendships and loyalty. And we intend to continue to foster and develop these working relationships as we step forward into a rapidly accelerating future… together.

Our feeling is that commercial creative industries at large are in urgent, dire need of debate and policies to guide us through this A.I. minefield and safeguard the arts.

We wanted to spur this debate by putting out there our own Photoplay stance on A.I…  so here goes:


Made by humans for humans.

At Photoplay we are committed to making and telling human stories with and for actual, real-life, humans. Over the years, our company has built working relationships with some of the best artists and craftspeople in the industry. In light of the recent uptick in artificial intelligence being used to replace real people in our industry, and as one of the country’s leading boutique production companies, we feel it is important to share Photoplay’s stance on the matter—at least as to how it is used in the photography and filmmaking process.

There is obviously an ethical question at play when using a machine that is designed to mimic the work of others. There is also the issue of ownership over work generated by A.I. as the copyright cannot be legally owned. But, perhaps most significantly, it is the existential question it raises to all of us as creators. Do we not learn something new about ourselves with every new thing we make—every new story we tell? What do we actually gain by giving that process away? The automation of labour may result in a cheaper product but it will never result in a more meaningful one.  

That being said, we support the use of A.I. where it helps our human colleagues—not replaces them. The best of both worlds.  

And so, we would like to make it known to all future collaborators that Photoplay is committed to original ideas, award-winning craftsmanship and human creativity. We desire to be imitated—not imitators—and will therefore continue to create the highest standard of work with the most talented humans the film industry has to offer. 

In short, we’d rather be nourishing the machine than sifting through its toilet.

And no, we didn’t use ChatGPT to write this.


Further reading:

Art News, US Copyright Office: AI Generated Works Are Not Eligible for Copyright

The New York Times, Will a Chatbot write the next ‘Succession’? 

The New York Times, ‘The Godfather of A.I.’ Leaves Google and Warns of Danger Ahead

The New Yorker, Nick Cave on the Fragility of Life

The Unesco Courier, Humans, Not Machines, Create Meaning

The Verge, Levi’s will test AI-generated clothing models to ‘increase diversity’

The Saturday Paper – Calls to regulate Orwellian AI