“Black Mirror” has long been known for its chilling and thought-provoking commentary on humanity’s relationship with technology. However, when series creator Charlie Brooker asked ChatGPT, an advanced language model, to write an episode, the results were far from impressive.
In an interview with Empire, Brooker shared his experience with ChatGPT, expressing his initial curiosity about what it could come up with. Unfortunately, the language model fell short of his expectations.
“It comes up with something that seems plausible at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it’s just terrible,” Brooker said. “All it did was combine various synopses of ‘Black Mirror’ episodes without offering any original ideas.”
As Vannevar Bush once wrote, “For mature thought, there is no mechanical substitute.” Even Ada Lovelace, one of the pioneers of computational systems, echoed a similar sentiment. While computers today can convincingly imitate intelligence, they still lack true originality. However, Brooker saw an opportunity in ChatGPT’s failure.
He realized that if the language model could only generate the most predictable and uninspired storylines based on existing episodes, it could serve as a guide for what not to write.
“I decided to discard any preconceived notions of what a ‘Black Mirror’ episode should be. There’s no point in having an anthology show if you can’t break your own rules. It was like a refreshing wake-up call,” Brooker explained.
It was clear from the beginning that asking a pattern generator to create an original episode, especially for a show renowned for its unique and unsettling narratives, was unlikely to succeed. However, this experience highlighted the value of ChatGPT in an unexpected way. By showing what not to do, it inadvertently guided Brooker towards the right path.
Of course, the solution wasn’t as simple as merely doing the opposite of what ChatGPT suggested. Nonetheless, it demonstrated how this impressive yet ultimately limited language model could still find a role, even when it wasn’t perfectly suited for the task at hand.