Watch Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch act out a script written by a computer

We often discuss the idea of robots taking our jobs, but the conversation is typically confined to physical labour rather than creative work. Sure, the Associated Press has a robot that pumps out stories based on corporate earnings and stock market performance, but that's very different to say, writing a movie.

However, filmmakers Oscar Sharp and Ross Goodwin have created an AI that does just that, and transformed its first script into a short film – Sunspring – acted by the likes of Thomas Middleditch (best known for his role in Silicon Valley). Goodwin built the AI (a long short-term memory recurrent neural network now referred to as Benjamin) that wrote Sunspring by training it on sci-fi screenplays from the '80s and '90s. Benjamin analysed these scripts to learn screenplay structure, predict how words followed one another, and how phrases were paired in such films. 

While nonsensical at times, Sunspring is almost Lynchian in execution, calling to mind works such as Eraserhead. The short placed in the top 10 out of hundreds of films entered in Sci-Fi London, an annual film festival that includes a 48-hour film challenge. 

Computers might not be writing blockbuster films any time soon, but Sunspring is definitely worth the watch. The full short film can be viewed below, and Ars Technica has a longer piece about Sunspring's inception.



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