IBM's Watson supercomputer creates a movie trailer
Comment of the Day

September 01 2016

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

IBM's Watson supercomputer creates a movie trailer

This article by Rich Hardy for Gizmag may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

But perhaps the most beguiling, and subversive, aspect of Watson's trailer was how much it de-emphasised the monstrous nature of the human/nanotech hybrid. The irony of this entire project is that we have a film where a form of AI turns violent and kills humans, but the AI tasked with making the film's trailer ends up playing down that entire facet of the narrative.

Aside from being a fun experiment in computer-generated creativity, this project also proposes a speedy alternative to a generally costly and time-consuming process. The construction of a film trailer is usually an intensive practice taking several weeks to produce, but this trailer took only 24 hours to construct, from Watson "watching" the film to a human editor delivering the final product.

Making a good film trailer is a delicate balance between art and commerce. If anything this experiment still goes to show that a strong human hand is necessary even when producing what many would determine to be a disposable advertisement. Still, I wouldn't mind getting Watson's perspective on a few sci-fi films that vilify artificial intelligence. Maybe there is a Terminator trailer on the cards that sympathizes with Skynet or a view on 2001: A Space Odyssey where HAL 9000 is the film's hero?

Eoin Treacy's view

IBM is in the midst of redeploying its knowhow from a company that delivered hardware to one almost entirely focused on software/computing as a service and Watson represents a big part of that. Meanwhile IBM is also advancing the development of quantum computers where it already has a 5-qubit prototype that it hopes to offer third party access too shortly. 

As an aside quantum computing represent perhaps the greatest challenge to crytographers to date, since the nature of quantum mechanics is to rapidly compute all possible scenarios simultaneously before choosing the most likely. This represents a potential challenge for the evolution of blockchain whose cryptographic makeup is unhackable using today’s technology.  

I have a number of friends working in the movie aftermarket sector who spend much of their time producing trailers. The almost universal mood is that they feel under great pressure from technology. Classically trained artists are competing with well- educated young and hungry graduates who, using modern software, can achieve some of the same results as someone who has twenty years’ experience straight out of college. Fox approaching IBM to experiment with AI suggests it is aiming to at least rationalise the process, so costs can be brought down, and ultimately to cut out the middle man. 

IBM hit a medium-term low in January and bounced from the region of the trend mean in July. It is currently unwinding a short-term overbought condition but a sustained move below the 200-day MA would be required to question the medium-term upward bias. 

Twenty-First Century Fox has been ranging below a completed Type-2 top since late 2015 and is now approaching the congestion area lows near $22. A clear upward dynamic will be required to confirm support in that area. 

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