Short Films: An AI Created a Short Sci-Fi Film "Sunspring"

What is the difference between artificial intelligence and the human mind? Some say it is the power of creativity. Artificial intelligence does not have the power of creativity the way the human mind does. Of course, one part of being human is the gumption to prove that assertion wrong, and what better way to do it than with a science fiction film.

Filmmaker Oscar Sharp and technologist Ross Goodwin decided after Google’s AI won a game of Go, a game that many people said needed human intuition to win, to test whether or not an AI can write a screenplay. Using the same technology that smartphones use to predict the next word during texts, this AI developed by Goodwin was fed a series of screenplays into its algorithm. Movies that were used include Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sharp then took the screenplay and made a film with it, including its stage directions in 48 hours.

Starring Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley, the resulting film is called Sunspring and even features a song that was written by the AI. But, the results are an interesting mishmash of dialogue and a study in science fiction clichés. There were at least a dozen times in which a character says, “I don’t know what you mean.” Yet, some lines are strangely poetic – “He looked at me… and he throws me out his eyes.”

The actors have to commended for going full in with jumbled dialogue. It strange to think that an AI would write about unrequited love and loneliness. The computer known as Jetson quickly renamed itself Benjamin when turned on. Does this mean that the AI has anything that could possibly pass the Turing Test or any semblance of sentience? Probably not.  

But, I, for one, wait for the day I welcome our robot overlords.