With a dark, ominous atmosphere and gibberish script, short film Sunspring was penned by a computer and stars Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch.
Artificial intelligence has recently been trying its hand at various human creative endeavours, 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. The script and movie were the product of director Oscar Sharp and Ross Goodwin, a New York University AI researcher. A so-called recurrent neural network, which named itself Benjamin, was fed the scripts of dozens of science fiction movies including such classics as Highlander Endgame, Ghostbusters, Interstellar and The Fifth Element.
From there it was asked to create a screenplay, including actor directions, using a set of prompts required by the Sci-Fi London film festival’s 48-hour challenge. The resulting screenplay and pop song were then given to the cast, including Thomas Middleditch from Silicon Valley, Elisabeth Gray and Humphrey Ker to interpret and make into a film. The actors were randomly assigned to the parts and set to it. The 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 when taken together – but if you were half watching while doing something else you would definitely get the feeling that something just happened.