This post contains spoilers from Episode 2 of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” which debuted today on Netflix.
During an ’80s flashback in Mike Flanagan’s new horror series “The Fall of the House of Usher,” two characters have a decidedly contemporary conversation during which they discuss AI being used to write scripts.
In Episode 2, “The Masque of the Red Death,” during a scene which is set in 1980, the younger depiction of Roderick Usher (Zach Gilford) and his sister Madeline (Willa Fitzgerald) are speaking about technology. The brilliant and devious Madeline opines on math and technology, saying, “An algorithm is just a finite sequence of all defined instructions to solve a problem, or perform a computation. But, down the line, with computers, we could use them for anything. Financial markets, investments, predictive medical care. Hell, an algorithm could write movies and TV shows.”
Roderick looks skeptical and retorts, “Not well,” with Madeline making a chilling prediction: “You’ll see. Down the line we could mimic human consciousness.”
Although the scene was written and filmed well before the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, AI usage in Hollywood one of the key concerns of the unions. Director and screenwriter James Cameron recently spoke to CTV News about his skepticism in using AI to pen successful scripts.
“I just don’t believe that a disembodied mind that’s just regurgitating what other embodied minds have said will ever have something that’s going to move an audience,” Cameron said. “Let’s wait 20 years, and if an AI wins an Oscar for best screenplay, I think we’ve got to take them seriously.”
Justine Bateman, an adviser to SAG-AFTRA on AI issues, recently spoke with Variety about how deeply the tech could infiltrate Hollywood.
“I stress that this is an existential threat,” she said. “And if they can do this with actors, they can do it with writers, directors, cinematographers — everyone. We’ll be replaced with Frankenstein spoonfuls of our own work.”
All episodes of “The Fall of the House of Usher” are now available to watch on Netflix.