We are living in the time of technology. Through the many ways we, as humans, created multiple amounts of technology, stemming from portable phones, to our way of giving "life" to portable phones through satellite communication, we have yet to create a living A.I. Well, recently a short film was written entirely from an A.I. The given name was Jetson, before it renamed itself Benjamin. He has a recurrent neural network named long short-term memory, or LSTM. He is similar to the A.I in cellular phones' text recognition. This granted him the ability to do such things. Well, before the short was created, Benjamin was pieced together by his maker, an A.I researcher at New York University, Ross Goodwin.
The director, Oscar Sharp attended NYU for film, interested more in the technologists than those of his department. It wasn't long until he met Ross Goodwin; a graduate with a Masters from NYU. After the two enthusiasts finally connected, about a year later, Goodwin completely built an AI that could create a screenplay. The two found a team and finished what they started.
With this cutting edge development, Goodwin had begun placing many screenplays of popular sci-fi films he had found online. The majority were from movies of 1980s and 90s. This allowed Benjamin to dissect the information. He narrowed it down, taking into his algorithm which letters followed each other continuously. Also which phrases tended to happen most. I suppose we know why the movie used the phrase, "I don't know what you are talking about." so many times. It seems Benjamin may have collected it from the many screenplays embedded into him.
Soon after, Sharp and Goodwin had the actors, Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Elisabeth Gray, and Humphrey Ker sitting around, waiting for the complete screenplay. You can see this during the credits, the entire cast and crew waiting for the final product. As hilarious and incompetent as "Sunspring" is, they hit high marks with the judges at the Sci-Fi London film festival. It was inducted into the 48-Hour Film Challenge, which required the contestants to use a set of prompts (mostly of props and lines) that are due to appear in the movie. 48 hours to make a film, and this is what came of it. They placed in the top ten out of hundreds of entries. Right before the final judging from the competition, audience members were given the opportunity to vote online for their favorite film from the top ten list. They even had gotten Louis Savy, the runner of the film festival, to interview the A.I during the award ceremony. Here's part of what Benjamin said to him.
Savy: What's next for you?
Benjamin: Here we go. The staff is divided by the train of the burning machine building with sweat. No one will see your face. The children reach into the furnace, but the light is still slipping to the floor. The world is still embarrassed.
The party is with your staff.
My name is Benjamin.
I'm certain this gave everyone a good chuckle. Even after a small quarrel with a few cheaters from the film festival, and Goodwin allowing Benjamin to outvote them, they still came out on the better end. He was able to outvote them 36,000
times per hour in the last hour of voting, just to make a dent in what was done. Let's just say he saved them, and other contestants of the film festival. So, maybe he could be a superhero as well? Possibly. Before hosting the short, writer Annalen Newitz, from the website Ars had an interview with Sharp and Goodwin. There, Sharp was aided into asking Benjamin a very important question. It was about whether he was an author of the movie. Sharp asked, "Are you an author?" for which Benjamin answered, "Yes, you know what I’m talking about. You’re a brave man." It wasn't as clear, but its decisiveness shouldn't be misinterpreted. I suppose for now, Benjamin remains with us humans. Only time will tell if such things change. Check out the short film below.