‘Sunspring’ is an absurd sci-fi short film written by AI, starring Thomas Middleditch

“We see H pull a book from a shelf, flip through it while speaking, and then put it back.

H: In the future with more unemployment, young people are forced to sell blood. That’s the first thing I can do.”

And so begins the script of Sunspring – a romance, mystery, sci-fi film written by an artificial intelligence algorithm that named itself Benjamin.

Benjamin is the brainchild of filmmaker Oscar Sharp and technologist Ross Goodwin, who decided to employ a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network to compete in the 48-Hour Film Challenge at Sci-Fi London. After Goodwin created the artificial intelligence – who’s given name was Jetson – he and Sharp fed it hundreds of “sci-fi” TV and movie scripts, from Predator to Solaris to Silver Linings Playbook. Benjamin then analyzed the scripts and created its own.

RelatedGoogle’s newly launched Magenta Project aims to create art with artificial intelligence

The Sunspring script is intriguing if not seamless and intelligible. Stage directions include such absurdities as “He is standing in the stars and sitting on the floor,” “He sees a black hole on the floor leading to the man on the roof,” and “He picks up a light screen and fights the security force of the particles of a transmission on his face.” But Sharp and his cast, including Thomas Middleditch of HBO’s hit series Silicon Valley, made due with what Benjamin had written.

“As soon as we had a read-through, everyone around the table was laughing their heads off with delight,” Sharp told Ars Technica. The actors interpreted their lines – and Benjamin’s intentions – as best they could while Sharp attempted to thread together some semblance of a cohesive film. Given much of the script’s absurdity, the result is sometimes funny, often confusing, and even, for a moment, a bit forlorn.

Sunspring won’t likely win an Oscar but Sharp, Goodwin, Middleditch, and the rest of the team should be admired for their efforts of making an entertaining short from an utterly senseless script. Benjamin, on the other hand, might want to enroll in Screenwriting 101.

Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.