May 27, 2024


Epicurean Science & Tech

Training AI bots to scrub movie scripts of anything un-PC

3 min read

Actress Geena Davis’s latest role is getting artificial intelligence bots to monitor movie scripts to make sure Hollywood remains politically correct.

The Thelma and Louise star’s eponymous institute is expanding its partnership with NBCUniversal to uncover unconscious bias against black people, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in film scripts using its artificial intelligence tool called “Spellcheck for Bias.”

“I am heartened by NBCUniversal’s commitment and ongoing dedication to systemically improve Latino, Latina, Black, and AAPI representation in their content companywide as well as to incorporate many insights from our Spellcheck for Bias into upcoming productions,” Davis said in a statement. “We are so excited to continue this partnership with NBCUniversal along with Shri Narayanan and his team at USC Viterbi as we expand our Spellcheck for Bias tool.”


During its pilot run screening for Latino representation last year, the new system caused NBCUniversal to adjust 20% of the scripts tested by the tool, which the company’s executive vice president of inclusion for talent and content said helped with “solving the complex issues of inclusivity and equity throughout the entertainment industry.”

The artificial intelligence system analyzes scripts and identifies characters by gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, and body type. The tool can also measure the percentage of dialogue by demographic identity and catches characteristics in scripts, including discrimination, intelligence, and violence.

The tool is reminiscent of the Bechdel test, a system created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel to determine the level of female representation in works of fiction. Classic films such as The Godfather and Breakfast at Tiffany’s fail the test, which mandates the work contain at least two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man, according to a website that monitors films’ compliance.

“We’ve now accelerated to the point where they’re creating AI algorithms to read scripts,” said Amanda Milius, the former deputy assistant secretary for content at the State Department under the Trump administration. Milius told the Washington Examiner that the Bechdel test “was the beginning backslide to all of this,” referring to Hollywood valuing diversity initiatives over a creative screenwriter’s original concept material.

“And so, like, for me, I actually look forward to the day when Hollywood is not run by people at all and it’s just AI … that creates these really horrific movies,” said Milius, director of the 2020 film The Plot Against the President and whose father, John Milius, was a screenwriter for the 1979 Oscar-nominated film Apocalypse Now.

Other companies within the entertainment industry have made adjustments in accordance with shifting values in Hollywood, which is dominated by liberal filmmakers. Disney, which also partnered with Spellcheck for Bias in late 2019 to screen for gender bias, has limited the circulation of content such as Peter Pan and Dumbo, which the company alleged contained “negative racial depictions and mistreatment of people or cultures.”

Award ceremonies within the industry have also made a push for increased diversity, with a 2015 “#OscarsSoWhite” Twitter mob that criticized the number of white Oscar winners resulting in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mandating diversity quotas to qualify for awards last year.

Milius, an alumna of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, advocates for the Oscars to continue its increasingly politically correct priorities, arguing that doing so will cause more media consumers to turn up their noses to the liberal trends in the film industry.

The former State Department official claimed that Hollywood rid the industry of “directors and creatives and people that actually liked movies, or people in general or like had any kind of human feelings. They’ve been drifting out of the human territory for a long time, so I think this is the logical next step for them to create a computer algorithm so that they don’t even have to actually read the scripts anymore.”


Representatives for NBCUniversal and USC Viterbi, the engineering school that developed the tool, did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s requests for comment.

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Tags: News, Technology, Entertainment, Race and Diversity, Hollywood, Disney, Gender Issues, Artificial Intelligence, Media

Original Author: Kaelan Deese, Carly Roman

Original Location: Geena Davis’s new role: Training AI bots to scrub movie scripts of anything un-PC

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