Storytelling and Humanity

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere these days. There are some (Ray Kurzweil) that say that we are just around the corner from a technological singularity that will completely change our society. Then there are those on the other side of the argument that say that we are decades, centuries, or perhaps longer away from this singularity. And lastly there are others that say that real AI cannot be achieved because consciousness is something that is unique to humans and cannot be duplicated.

I have written on this subject quite a lot on this blog and certainly have my own opinions, as I think this is a very fascinating topic and one that will have major implications on the future regardless of which side of the fence you are on. Still though through all my discussions I never thought to talk about how this AI, if it is possible, could potentially change the entertainment industry.

Not too long ago I saw where a computer wrote a novel and it was entered into a contest in Japan. At first this sounds pretty amazing and to some extent a little scary, and a little exciting as well. When I first read the headlines I was blown away and wanted to read this book once it gets translated to English. I wonder if it would make me feel different reading a book that was not written by human hands or thought up by a human mind for that matter.

But as you can see in the attached article the computer on did about 20% of the work, where human involvement in the writing process was the other 80%. So the title of all those other articles is somewhat misleading. But again I think this is somewhat exciting and scary at the same time.

Recently I found this article where someone programmed a neural network to write a movie script. From my brief research a neural network is basically a learning machine that is modeled after our own nervous system. They way they work is that a large amount of data can be entered into the system, and through some process the neural network “learns” and or uses that data to make its own predictions and or outcomes. So they wanted to create a science fiction script so they uploaded some famous scifi movies for as the input data. Eventually they got a script back.

Unlike the novel above, I do not think there was any human involvement in the creative process, or at least the article does not say. What is even crazier is that someone actually made the movie and it is called Surprising and I pasted it below. At the beginning of the film they explain the programming and such.


Honestly I am not sure I have every seen a bigger contemplation of utter nonsense. I mean this literally makes no sense whatsoever. BUT while it makes no sense, I still found it somewhat comical in this weird artsy sort of way. Like that was what the neural network was going for, to create this ultra weird nonsensical film. I do not honestly believe that that is what happened, but it still pretty fascinating.

As you can see I think we are still a long way off from computers taking jobs that involve creativity. I think that may be one of the biggest tests to verify that we have officially created a true AI. Storytelling is part of every human culture and has been since we developed the ability to communicate. Telling a complete, coherent, engaging story is part of human nature. Once a computer can successfully do this to a point where a human cannot tell if the story was written by humans or computers, then and only then, will we have created something that can truly compete with us. Which again is both exciting and scary. Why would we want to create something that can compete with us, but on the other hand from a pure entertainment value wouldn’t you want to watch or read stories not matter who or what wrote them, again simply for the entertainment value.

Could there be some new aspect of story telling that we are missing out on, or something that we would have never thought of. I would argue that there are no new ideas out there and everything just gets recycled. So perhaps a new different mind thinking on the idea could be a good thing.


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