Computers don’t cry during sad stories, but they can tell when we will. New artificial intelligence research details how AI can predict how plots, images, and music affect your emotions while watching a movie.

But the most notable aspect of the film involves its creation: an artificial intelligence (AI) bot wrote Sunspring’s screenplay.

“Wow,” you think. “Maybe machines will replace human storytellers, just like self-driving cars could take over the roads.” A closer look at Sunspring might raise some doubts, however. One character in the film inexplicably coughs up an eyeball, and a critic noted that the dialogue often sounds like “a random series of unrelated sentences.” Until the technology advances, we still need rumpled screenwriters bent over keyboards. So let’s envision a less extreme scenario: could machines work alongside humans to improve the storytelling process?

Imagine how this collaboration might unfold in the rich medium of video. As always, human storytellers would create a screenplay with clever plot twists and realistic dialogue. AI would enhance their work by providing insights that increase a story’s emotional pull—for instance, identifying a musical score or visual image that helps engender feelings of hope. Read the article at McKinsey.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”. Read more at Wikipedia.

About Sunspring: In the wake of Google’s AI Go victory, filmmaker Oscar Sharp turned to his technologist collaborator Ross Goodwin to build a machine that could write screenplays. They created “Jetson” and fueled him with hundreds of sci-fi TV and movie scripts. Shortly thereafter, Jetson announced it wished to be addressed as Benjamin. Building a team including Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, they gave themselves 48 hours to shoot and edit whatever Benjamin (Jetson) decided to write.

Starring: Thomas Middleditch
Director: Oscar Sharp
Executive Producer: Walter Kortschak
Producer: Allison Friedman, Andrew Kortschak, and Andrew Swett
Editor: Taylor Gianotas
Writer: Benjamin (formerly known as Jetson), an LSTM RNN Artificial Intelligence
Writer of Writer: Ross Goodwin


What Happens When an Algorithm Helps Write Science Fiction

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