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London cinema cancels screening of AI-generated film following backlash

A central London cinema has cancelled a screening of a film which was written by artificial intelligence (AI) following a public backlash.

The Prince Charles Cinema in Soho was due to host the world premiere of The Last Screenwriter, which was written by ChatGPT, on Sunday.

After concerns were raised by their audience on “the use of AI in place of a writer”, the cinema announced on Tuesday that the screening had been axed.

In a statement shared to Instagram, the cinema said: “To all of you, yesterday we posted about a private hire event taking place this coming weekend which featured a project whose script had been written by AI.

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“The client informed the private hire team that this was an ‘experiment in filmmaking’ by a filmmaker hoping to engage in the discussion about AI and its negative impact on the arts. The film’s content reflected this, so the hire team took the booking.”

It continued: “The feedback we received over the last 24hrs once we advertised the film has highlighted the strong concern held by many of our audience on the use of AI in place of a writer which speaks to a wider issue within the industry.

“As a result of this, we have decided NOT to go ahead with the hire.

“Our decision is rooted in our passion for movies and listening to those who support what we do.”

Created by Peter Luisi, the movie is being marketed as the “first feature film written entirely by AI”.

It follows a celebrated screenwriter called Jack who finds his world shaken when he encounters a cutting-edge AI scriptwriting system.

After initially being sceptical, Jack realises the AI matches his skills and surpasses his empathy and understanding of human emotions.

Torn between his pride and fear of obsolescence, Jack is offered a chance to write a film solely with the AI.

On the film’s website, the creators have said: “We wanted to find out if artificial intelligence is able to write an entire feature film and how good this film would be if produced by a professional team.”

The use of AI within the arts has been a tense discussion point recently, with hundreds of thousands of actors supporting the strike by the US actors’ union Sag-Aftra last year which brought Hollywood to a standstill over a series of issues, including the unregulated use of AI.

It continues to be a major concern for the entertainment industry, with programmes such as ChatGPT relying heavily on copyrighted material for their development.

The issue has now made its way to the Government’s in-tray, with MPs calling for interventions to ensure artists receive fair compensation when their work is used by AI developers.