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A Surprising Number of Consumers Believe AI Could Make Better Shows, Movies Than Human Creators

Many in Hollywood have expressed fears that generative artificial-intelligence technology will create massive disruption in the industry, including the potential loss of jobs.

New survey results won’t do anything to assuage those concerns: Although 70% of U.S. consumers say they would rather watch a TV show or movie written by a human than by generative AI, a surprising percentage — 22% — said gen AI could actually write TV shows and movies that are more interesting than humans, according to Deloitte’s 18th annual Digital Media Trends survey, released Wednesday. That sentiment was highest among millennials (30%) and Gen Z consumers (25%). In addition, overall, 42% said generative AI and humans can each produce entertaining content.

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Pro-AI advocates have argued that the technology promises to democratize content creation, as well as super-charge VFX capabilities and more them more cost-effective. Gen Zs and millennials are leading the way in experimenting with AI tools: 18% of those generational cohorts have used generative AI to create images, and 25% surveyed have used it to create text, per Deloitte’s report. Older generations are further behind on these counts. The survey was fielded in October 2023 among 3,517 U.S. consumers 14 and older.

Among the impact gen AI has already had in the entertainment biz: Entrepreneur, actor and director Tyler Perry announced he was halting an $800 million expansion to his Atlanta studio complex — because of OpenAI’s new text-to-video tool Sora. According to a recent HarrisX poll, most U.S. adults incorrectly guessed whether AI or a human had created five out of eight videos they were shown. (Half of the videos in the poll were Sora demo videos that have gone viral online.) In its 2023 annual report filed with the SEC, Netflix added generative AI to potential risk factors that could hurt its business.

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SEE ALSO: SXSW Audiences Loudly Boo Festival Videos Touting the Virtues of AI

The use of AI by studios was a front-burner issue for the two striking Hollywood unions last year. The WGA’s deal includes guardrails around the use of generative AI in the creative process, including a provision that gives the union itself the power to challenge the use of writers’ existing work to train AI software programs. The SAG-AFTRA agreement with the studios includes some, but not all, of the union’s demands on AI.

At the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES 2024, AI was a key topic of conversation. Hanno Basse, CTO of visual-effects company Digital Domain, said he was worried about the advent of AI-generated human replicas that are indistinguishable from real humans. “We’re going to see believable virtual humans that you can interact with — as if you’re interacting with a real person — within the next couple of years. And what that means for society is something I’m worried about,” Basse said. “It’s up to all of us to figure out how to use it responsibly.”

Here’s the breakdown of responses to the Deloitte survey’s questions by age group (more info is at this link):

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