An AI-generated TV show will happen soon, says director of Slow Horses and One Life

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One Life and Slow Horses director James Hawes thinks AI will be able to write whole TV shows in three to five years’ time. More on that below. 

Another day, another scary AI story. Depending on who you ask, AI is either the biggest threat or a major opportunity when it comes to making art, whether it’s writing, film, TV, painting or photography. 

The latest creative talent to offer their two cents on the AI zeitgeist is director James Hawes. Best known for his work in television with Slow Horses, Black Mirror and The Alienist, Hawes recently made his feature film debut with One Life, starring Anthony Hopkins – a film we were big fans of at Film Stories. 

Deadline now reports that Hawes thinks we’re only a handful of years away from a TV show generated entirely by AI.

“The best guess was three to five years,” Hawes told the British Film & High-End TV Inquiry. “Someone will say, ‘Create a scene in an ER room where a doctor comes in and he’s having an affair with a woman and they’re flirting, and someone is dying on the table,’ and [AI] will start to create it. Maybe it won’t be as polished as we are used to but that is how close we are getting.”

Hawes’ comments mirror those made by Joe Russo last year. According to the Avengers: Endgame co-director, a feature film made by AI is roughly two years away or less. 

It’s a scary prospect, but one that is fast becoming reality – and Hawes recognises this as well. 

“My worry is that if we don’t get up to speed with this then the AI-generated stories will come from elsewhere,” Hawes noted. “We need to take note and act on it now. Silicon Valley is way ahead.”

AI was one of the key issues of both the writers’ and the actors’ strikes last year. The agreement reached by the studios and the Writers Guild states that AI cannot be used to write scripts or even edit ones that have been written by a human being. The Actors Union, SAG-AFTRA, was recently criticised after it signed a deal with an AI company. 

It’s fair to say that AI isn’t going anywhere, but if Hawes is right and an AI-made TV show is coming in the next few years, that could lead to an uncertain future for a lot of creatives, especially at the start of their careers. 

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