Skip to main content

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

Sunspring | A Sci-Fi Short Film 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.

Related Videos

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.

Editors' Recommendations

This 56-minute video was constructed entirely with AI and a single photo
ai creates video from single image 35814145  digital camera viewfinder vector illustration

Videos are made up of thousands of still images per minute, but what if all you have is a single image and artificial intelligence? That is the question artist and Google developer Damien Henry asked in his latest project, where, outside of the first frame, the entire nearly hour-long video is constructed by an algorithm designed to predict the next frame. The result? Well, it is not going to make you ditch your camera anytime soon, but considering it was generated almost entirely by AI, the bad-Fantasia-remake-meets-view-from-a-road-trip-window is rather impressive.

Henry says the entire video was generated by an algorithm in one try, with no retries and no editing or post-processing. The only thing Henry did was to feed the system the very first frame. From that single image, the platform predicted the next frame and then the one after that over and over again around 100,000 times. It created a rather abstract-looking footage of clouds that is reminiscent of what you see if you strapped a GoPro to your window during an uneventful road trip, with the computer generating a drive-by view of scenes with trees, power lines, and buildings.

Read more
AI-powered stock photography platform EyeEm is expanding into video clips
eyeem launches video screen shot 2017 05 09 at 8 12 21 am copy

EyeEm, the platform that mixes social with stock photography organized by artificial intelligence, is expanding into new territory -- video. On May 9, EyeEm announced the launch of EyeEm Videography, a stock video platform that will use the same artificial intelligence that powers the still-image option to automatically keyword and organize videos.

This launch is the EyeEm Videography Early Creator program, where current users can upload clips between 5 and 40 seconds long as the platform prepares to completely integrate video into the EyeEm platform later this year. The company has already tested the system by invitation-only, with selected users submitting video in the aerial, urban, travel, food, and nature categories.

Read more
Google's video AI was tricked into thinking a video about apes was about spaghetti
google announces security features for cloud platform data center servers

While artificial intelligence is an incredibly important field that's growing by leaps and bounds, perhaps its most interesting lessons concerns just how incredible the human brain is at performing certain functions. While computers might be better at performing math and looking dozens of chess moves into the future, they can't yet compete with the human brain at figuring out things like a video's topic.

A recent research project demonstrated just that fact by feeding videos to Google's Cloud Video Intelligence API and seeing if it could determine exactly what a given video was about. Apparently, this seemingly simple task is a challenge for Google's AI and points out the difficulty of creating automatic systems to categorize video, as Motherboard reports.

Read more