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AI Movie Writing Skill Turns Out To Be Hilarious and Intense
Funny, Moving Screenplay Written Entirely By Computer (CCSS Level: Grade 8, Words: 490)
May 4, 2017 Science & Technology
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Artificial intelligence has recently been trying its hand at mimicking human creativity, from cooking to art, poetry to board games, but nothing is quite as surreal as a robot writing the script for a science fiction movie - until now.

Sunspring is a short science fiction film that's not entirely what it seems. It's about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. Character 1 (known simply as "H") is played seriously by nerdy Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch) while the second character, "H2" (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to "go to the Skull" before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights. It sounds like your typical sci-fi B-movie, complete with an almost unintelligible plot. Amazingly Sunspring wasn't written in Hollywood, but was composed entirely by an AI. To be specific, it was authored by a recurrent neural network called long short-term memory, or LSTM for short. At least, that's what we'd call it. The AI named itself Benjamin.

Knowing that an AI wrote Sunspring makes the movie more fun to watch, especially once you know how the cast and crew put it together. The script and movie were the product of director Oscar Sharp and Ross Goodwin, a New York University AI researcher. Benjamin was fed the scripts of dozens of science fiction movies including, Highlander, Endgame, Ghostbusters, Interstellar and The Fifth Element. As the cast gathered around a tiny printer, Benjamin spat out the screenplay, complete with almost impossible stage directions like "He is standing in the stars and sitting on the floor. "As soon as we had a read-through, everyone around the table was laughing their heads off with delight," Sharp told Ars Technica.

From there the AI was asked to create a screenplay, including actor directions, using a set of prompts required by the Sci-Fi London film festivals' 48-hour challenge. The resulting screenplay and pop song were then given to the cast. The actors interpreted the lines as they read, adding tone and body language, and the results are what you see in the movie. Somehow, a slightly garbled series of sentences became a tale of romance and murder, set in a dark future world. It even has its own musical interlude (performed by Andrew and Tiger), with a pop song that Benjamin composed after learning from a body of 30,000 other pop songs.

The final result is a weirdly entertaining, strangely moving dark sci-fi story of love and despair. The sentences make sense in isolation, although the dialogue doesn't really work when taken together - but if you were half watching while doing something else you would definitely get the feeling that something just happened.

The robots might be coming, but screenwriters have nothing to fear, at least for the time being.

If you would like to watch the play, find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY7x2Ihqjmc

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a-ma-zing

makes you surprised


adj.惊人

an-nounce

give information, make something public


v.宣布/公布

ar-ti-fi-cial

made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally


adj.人造的

au-thor

a writer of a book or report


n.作者

chal-lenge

a call to take part in a contest


n.挑战

com-plete

to finish, end 


v.完成

cur-rent

right now / a flow of water in the ocean


adj,n.当前/潮流

de-fi-nite-ly

no doubt, of course


adv.无疑

di-rec-tion

a course along which something moves


n.方向

di-rec-tor

a person in charge of a company, movie or play


n.董事

e-le-ment

what makes up all matter


n.元件/元素

en-tire-ly

completely, only


adv.完全

fes-ti-val

a day or time when people have a holiday and celebrate a special event


n.节日

fu-ture

time still to come    


n.未来

gath-ered

grouped together


v.聚集

host

to hold or organise


v.主办

i-con

a symbol of the times


n.图标    

im-ply

strongly suggest the truth or existence of something


v.意味着/暗示

im-pos-si-ble

not able to be done


adj.不可能

in-clu-ding

containing, having as part of the whole


prep.包含

in-tel-li-gence

the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills


n.情报

in-ter-lude

an intervening period of time


n.插曲

in-ter-pre-ted

explain the meaning of (information, words, or actions)


adj.解读

in-ter-stel-lar

occurring or situated between stars


adj.星际

mur-der

kill (someone) unlawfully and with premeditation


v.谋杀

neu-ral

of or relating to a nerve or the nervous system


adj.神经

per-form

put on a show


v.演出/表演

re-cent

not long ago


adj.最近    

re-cent-ly

not long ago


adv.最近

re-quire

need


v.要求

re-quired

needed


v.需要

re-search

looking for knowledge


v.调研

re-search-er

person who searches for knowledge


n.研究员

rough

having an uneven or irregular surface; not smooth or level


adj.粗暴

se-ries

a number of things coming one after another


n.系列

se-ri-ous

maybe causing great harm


adj.严重

spe-cial

better or greater than usual


adj.特别

spring

a material that returns to its shape after pressed or stretched


n.弹簧

stage

a raised floor in a theatre for plays or a speaker


n.舞台

strange

not usual, hard to understand


adj.奇怪/陌生

sur-real

weird or bizarre


adj.超现实主义