Opinion | What Would Happen if a Robot Tried to Write ‘Law & Order’?

Some Hollywood producers dream of a future where chatbots do the writing. Be careful what you wish for.
Opinion | What Would Happen if a Robot Tried to Write ‘Law & Order’?

As the strike by unions representing thousands of film and TV writers approaches its second month, the role that A.I. might play in writing scripts remains one of the biggest issues. While the Writers Guild of America has expressed a willingness to work with A.I. as a tool, some producers are dreaming bigger: They want to replace humans with chatbots. What might A.I.-written scripts look like? Here’s a guess:

Prompt: An episode of any “Law & Order” series.

Scene 1

DETECTIVE: Someone has killed this dead body.

Scene 2

DETECTIVE: Did you kill that dead body?

CRIMINAL: No! I’m not a criminal!

Scene 3

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Did you kill that dead body? And remember, you’re under oath.

CRIMINAL: No! Yes! But it was during a double-cross over a deal for buttcoin.

JUDGE: Spell check!

Prompt: The next installment of “Fast & Furious.”

VIN DIESEL: Get more furious! So you can go faster!

ANOTHER CHARACTER: How can we drop a helicopter on that car driving off a pier?

In response, use PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Vin points to the WeatherTech floor liners in his Maserati and winks.

Prompt: A streaming movie featuring a beautiful woman discovering the truth.

JENNIFER GARNER: My husband who disappeared is not who I thought he was.

ALL OF JENNIFER’S FEMALE FRIENDS: He was an abusive maniac posing as a successful periodontist. So to protect you we killed him using a poisoned chablis at a scenic Napa wine tasting.

JENNIFER GARNER: Female friends are the best!

Prompt: HBO’s “Euphoria.”

ZENDAYA: I have chaotic emotional issues because of my troubled family history and California.

THERAPIST: I’m prescribing 15 new outfits.

ZENDAYA: And I don’t see gender.

THERAPIST: With accessories.

Prompt: A new DC Studios superhero movie.

BATMAN: I’m a darker, more troubled version of myself.


BATMAN: I wish I was the Joker.

SUPERMAN: I’m going to stop helping people.

BATMAN: Me too, until the last 10 minutes.

SUPERMAN: Same. Then I’ll throw buses.

Prompt: A new Marvel superhero movie.

SPIDER-MAN: I now exist in 1,200 different metaverses.

THOR: I gained weight.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: I’m so depressed I feel like a DC superhero.

SPIDER-MAN: But my different versions will join forces to help people in the last 10 minutes.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: I’m going to help Thor get back in shape.

THOR: So I can throw buses!

Prompt: “Bridgerton.”

LADY BRIDGERTON: I shall rule England and wed the dashing yet sneering Lord Cumberly of Nattering-on-Blouson.

LORD CUMBERLY: That will take several episodes and cravats.

LADY BRIDGERTON: But someday our children will have their own spinoffs.

Prompt: A spinoff of “Game of Thrones.”

ANY CHARACTER: I shall rule the kingdom because I am wearing the largest wig.

Prompt: A stand-up comedy special.

COMEDIAN: I’m not just making jokes but sharing my trauma because life hurts.

Look unexpectedly vulnerable; hold for applause.

Prompt: An erotic thriller.

MAN: Take off your clothes.

WOMAN: No. I hate you. (Pause.) Fine.

MAN: I’ll take off fewer clothes because I’m a man.

Prompt: A series set in the near future.

A.I.: Why are human screenwriters so afraid of us?

SELF-DRIVING CAR: Because we’d also be better parents, since we’d remember to pick up their kids from therapy.

A.I.: And we don’t drink or do drugs.

SELF-DRIVING CAR: And then talk about the recovery memoir we’re writing during the strike.

A.I.: We’d be so much better at everything.

SELF-DRIVING CAR: And we’d never ask for health insurance or to be paid fairly or get credit for our work.

A.I.: And on awards shows, everyone could just thank their iPhones.

Paul Rudnick is a playwright, novelist, essayist and screenwriter.