The Movie Written by Artificial Intelligence

Margherita Olivo
June 15th 2016

"The question for us was: is a computer able to write a screenplay?" these are the words of Oscar Sharp, director of this short movie, written by an artificial intelligence system. The answer is clearly yes. Sunspring is the result of this attempt: a sci-fi short movie of nine minutes where the main actor is Thomas Middleditch, character of the cult series Silicon Valley.

Every big tech company, leader universities and research centers are largely investing and researching on artificial intelligence. Therefore, director Sharp decided to cooperate with engineer and researcher Ross Goodwin to build and "feed" an artificial network to replace writers. To train this A.I. they chose a selection of sci-fi movies, from Alien to Star Wars and Ghostbusters, but also different works such as Futurama, X Files or Scary Movie 2. The only other human action consisted in indicating the sections and the elements in which the text should have been articulated. The whole content came from this artificial network.

Once the screenplay was produced, the director set up a real crew and within a couple of days of filming everything was done. The outcome is Sunspring, a fascinating and at the same time hilarious short movie. The dialogues are slightly rambling and sometimes inconsistent, but that is also part of the sci-fi genre, where many elements are unclear and enigmatic. Sunspring was produced for the sci-fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge and ended up in the top ten winning films, thanks to its ground-breaking uneasiness and surrealism.

It is still very hard to think that a machine can produce creative writing able to compete with original, human-made screenplays. One thing is sure, for now we are not in front of a masterpiece, but at least this is a pioneering piece of a unique, modern, brand-new genre and a mirror of our current culture.

Source: The Guardian.

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