Can artificial intelligence be creative?

COPENHAGEN — It was last summer that Fox studios put its trust in a supercomputer to help create a trailer for its new thriller-horror movie.

It’s a prime example of a time when filmmakers were comfortable putting a step in the creative process in the hands of a machine. In a world where technological advances, including the rise artificial intelligence, have become the subject of so much research, will we see more companies in the movie industry becoming reliant on AI?

Jim R. Smith (pictured), IBM fellow and manager of multimedia and vision, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, discussed the intersection between creativity and AI to an audience at the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival on Monday.

So, can artificial intelligence be creative?

“Not yet on its own, but clearly, artificial intelligence working together with creative human persons has a great potential to produce things which go beyond what we do today,” said Smith.

IBM was contacted by Fox Studios last summer to see if its supercomputer, Watson, could analyze Fox’s new thriller-horror movie Morgan and develop its trailer.

Smith and the team at IBM fed the computer 100 horror film trailers and cut them into scenes. Watson then performed visual, sound and composition analyses on each scene to grasp the nature of the trailers. 

After watching Morgan, Watson picked out 10 scenes that were given to the IBM in-house film editor to create the trailer. Only one of Watson’s picks was discarded, as the film editor thought it had a twist that could spoil the movie.

Smith said the media gave the trailer a lot of attention because of its use of artificial intelligence. It also helped start a discussion on the topic of AI and creativity.

Watson played a supporting role in creating the trailer, but if creativity is a combination of method and magic, Smith said, there is the opportunity for AI to have a role in augmenting creativity.

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