AI Can Make Music, Screenplays, and Poetry. What About a Movie?

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Want a movie where a protagonist your age, race, sexuality, gender, and religion becomes an Olympic swimmer? You got it. Want a movie where someone demographically identical to your boss gets squeezed to death and devoured by a Burmese python? Your wish is its command. From a report: Want to leave out the specifics and let fate decide what never-before-imagined movie will be entertaining you this evening? Black Box has you covered. After you make your choices — and of course pay a nominal fee for the serious computational heavy lifting necessarily involved — your order is received at Black Box HQ, and an original movie will be on its way shortly.

Black Box converts your specifications into data — or if you didn’t ask for anything specific, a blob of randomly generated numerical noise will do — and the creation process can begin. That first collection of ones and zeros will become a prompt, and will be fed into a type of A.I. called a transformer, which will spit out the text screenplay for your movie through a process a little like the autocomplete function on your smartphone. That screenplay will then be fed into a variation on today’s vector quantized variational autoencoders — neural nets that generate music, basically — producing chopped up little bits of sound that, when strung together, form an audio version of the spoken dialogue and sound effects in your custom movie, plus an orchestral score. Finally, in the most challenging part of the process, those 90 minutes of audio, along with the screenplay, get fed into the world’s most sophisticated GAN, or generative adversarial network. Working scene by scene, the Black Box GAN would generate a cast of live action characters — lifelike humans, or at least human-esque avatars — built from the ground up, along with all of the settings, monsters, car chases, dogs, cats, and little surprises that make it feel like a real movie.

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