With the right combination of resources and perspectives, there are few areas that artificial intelligence (AI) cannot enter, and even thrive within.
The technology is behind the creation of sophisticated works of art, and even a pretty decent black metal album.
Now, the stakes are even higher, with luxury carmaker Lexus unveiling a one-minute advertisement with a script created entirely by AI for the release of its ES executive sedan.
And as a symbol of the growing influence of AI, Academy Award winner Kevin McDonald agreed to lend his directing talents to the project.
The AI Sets Out to Learn
In order to ensure that a completely original story was produced, the AI underwent a training period that involved car and luxury advertisements from a 15-year period, all of them past winners in the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity.
A thorough analysis of certain trends and correlations was done, in addition to a good amount of visual and emotional cues that would produce a rich set of data for the AI to learn from.
Also, to make sure the ad would have a high end feel to it, the team made sure a combination of both luxury brand and car ads were used.
Combining all these subtle pieces, the AI was able to achieve the sophisticated thought process of a scriptwriter, at least enough to satisfy the aims of the project.
For film director McDonald, he explained how although the scriptwriting project was unlike any he had joined, that the final product exceeded his expectations:
"When I was handed the script, the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential.
The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform.
The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge."
A Meeting of Creative Minds
To pull off the advertisement required a large coordination of efforts.
Thanks to the efforts of IBMWatson in covering visual, textual and audio analysis, Visual Voice for designing the AI scriptwriter itself and The&Partnership London, Lexus' creative goto agency, the plans went off without any major glitches.
In discussing the work atmosphere, Alex Newland, Co-Founder of Visual Voice, said:
"This was both a highly challenging and deeply fascinating project to have had the privilege to be a part of. From the outset, it was almost impossible to know what level of quality or intelligibility the AI would produce.
To see the project brought together with such a rich finished piece is extremely satisfying and exciting to witness. We believe this project moves AI-generated content into the beginnings of true, stand-alone creative merit."
Most importantly, in addition to the script, the AI also created detailed documentation of its learning objectives and outcomes.
Perhaps the living document can be used as a blueprint for future projects, both within the company and beyond.