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Bryant Francis at Game Developer on “Ghostwriter,” Ubisoft’s new AI tool for its narrative team to generate barks:

Ubisoft is directly integrating Ghostwriter into its general narrative tool called “Omen.” When Ubisoft writers are creating NPCs, they are able to create cells that contain barks about different topics. An NPC named “Gaspard” might want to talk about being hungry or speeding while driving a car. To generate lines about speeding, the writer can either write their own barks, or click on the Ghostwriter tool to generate lines about that topic. Ghostwriter is able to generate these lines by combining the writer’s input with input from different large language models. […]

Ghostwriter is also used to generate large amounts of lines for “crowd life.” Ubisoft games often feature large crowds of NPCs in urban environments, and when players walk through those crowds, they generally will hear snippets of fake conversations or observations about what’s going on in the plot or game world.

Putting on my writer’s hat, I think that’s a great tool I’d love to work with! But there are trepidations, of course. Kaan Serin for Rock Paper Shotgun:

On Twitter, Radical Forge’s lead UI artist Edd Coates argued that this work could have been handed to a junior, making Ghostwriter seem like just another cost-cutting measure. He also said, “They’re clearly testing the waters with the small stuff before rolling out more aggressive forms of AI.” […] Other devs have argued that writing barks isn’t a pain.

As to the latter, sure—if your idea of a great workday consists of filling spreadsheet after spreadsheet with variations of dialogue snippets, you do you. But editing and refining them could be, and even should be, just as enjoyable, if not more so.

As to the former, Coates does have a point. In our corporate climate, as mentioned before, companies rarely use new technologies to make life better, hours shorter, and workdays more enjoyable for their employees. Instead, they will happily use these new technologies as a lever to “increase productivity” by reducing their workforce, replacing skilled with less-skilled personnel at lower wages, and crank up any turnout to whatever these new technologies allow.

Ghostwriter sounds like a terrific tool, and the problem isn’t new technologies. Unfettered capitalism is.