Black Mirror Creator Tried Using ChatGPT to Write an Episode: “It Was Sh*t”

Image: Netflix

Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has told Empire in a new interview that he tried to use ChatGPT to write an episode, but it didn’t turned out as well as he’d expected. “The first thing I did was type ‘generate Black Mirror episode’ and it comes up with something that, at first glance, reads plausibly, but on second glance, is sh*t,” Brooker said, going on to accuse the AI chatbot of merely taking the synopses of older Black Mirror episodes and mushing them together. “Then if you dig a bit more deeply you go, ‘Oh, there’s not actually any real original thought here.’ It’s [1970s impressionist] Mike Yarwood — there’s a topical reference.” Black Mirror is currently in its sixth season, whose stars include Aaron Paul, Ben Barnes, Josh Hartnett, Kate Mara, and Salma Hayek.

From an Empire feature:

Brooker’s brush with AI did, however, prove to be a useful experience. As in much of Black Mirror, the problem turns out not to be the technology itself, but the use it’s put to by human beings. In a typical twist, Brooker found that the tech was actually teaching him what not to do in the future. “I was aware that I had written lots of episodes where someone goes ‘Oh, I was inside a computer the whole time!'”, he chuckles. “So I thought, ‘I’m just going to chuck out any sense of what I think a Black Mirror episode is.’ There’s no point in having an anthology show if you can’t break your own rules. Just a sort of nice, cold glass of water in the face.”

Which leads us nicely into new episode ‘Beyond The Sea’, starring Aaron Paul, Kate Mara and Josh Hartnett. An impossible mission set in an alternate 1969, it is, Brooker tells us, “sort of dystopian past, present and future. I had the plot idea first and then, at one point, I thought [adopts the voice of a TV-making moron], “What if I set this in the late ’60s? That’d be, like, disruptive and cool! And then when you actually come to write it, you realise, ‘Oh, hang on, if this is a different time and everyone in it is from that time, that actually informs how the characters are thinking and behaving.’ But I don’t think there was a deliberate rejection of nostalgia, so much as it was just a fun thing to do.”

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