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M*A*S*H returns, thanks to ChatGPT

Alan Alda and Mike Farrell reunite to perform a scene from the iconic show written by the artificial intelligence chatbot

Alan Alda has used artificial intelligence to write a new scene for iconic TV series M*A*S*H 40 years after the show ended.

As part of his podcast Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda, the actor reunited with co-star Mike Farrell to perform a scene between their characters Hawkeye and BJ, which was written by artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT.

After reading the scene, the two discussed the script produced by AI. Alda explained that he gave ChatGPT prompts to ask it to write a scene for M*A*S*H with Hawkeye searching for his boxer shorts, which he thinks BJ has stolen.

The premise for the scene, said Alda, was when BJ calls the missing items Hawkeye’s lucky shorts the other man is outraged.

“When it tried to make it funny it came up with really stupid stuff. It got stupider as it went along,” explained Alda.

“I made a lot of cuts and it went through many iterations. But every word we spoke was written by the machine.”

Farrell asked Alda if he thinks this is the way scripts will be written in future, to which the actor replied, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already started”.

“The whole thing unnerves me,” stated Farrell. “The idea of AI taking over what is an industry that’s fundamentally creative.”

You can listen to the scene and Alda and Farrell’s discussion here.