WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
We have already seen AI try to make movies, and it made very short awful ones, but the tech will get better quickly …
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Joe Russo, director of Marvel Studios blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame,” has predicted that it’ll only be two years until we see an AI-generated movie that’s convincing enough to give viewers pause.
Although, while I myself have been advising Hollywood studios like sci-fi blockbuster studio MPC and others on the future of AI and its ability to one day generate blockbuster movies I’d urge a note of caution and draw your attention to Russo’s use of the words ‘give viewers pause’ because that doesn’t mean AI will generate a blockbuster in 2 years time, it just means the video it generates will be good enough to get you to raise an eyebrow or two before the rest of the ‘movie’ careers off a cliff into awfulness.
And the reason I say this is because, as a futurist, as they say in the Mandalorian, when it comes to the ‘predictability of exponential technologies’ “This is the way.”
When will AI be able to make its own movies?
Speaking on a panel at the Sands International Film Festival in St. Andrews, Scotland, Russo was joined by Epic Games CCO Donald Mustard, who predicted that an AI-generated movie could arrive even sooner than Russo’s two-year timeframe.
Russo, who holds positions on the boards of “a few AI companies,” told Collider’s Steve Weintraub that AI could be used “to engineer storytelling and change storytelling,” adding that it could be used to create “a constantly evolving story, either in a game or in a movie, or a TV show.”
Or as the rest of us call it … a procedural movie.
The director gave the example of a viewer dialling up an AI-generated rom-com starring their own photorealistic avatar alongside Marilyn Monroe.
“It renders a very competent story with dialogue that mimics your voice,” he said. “And suddenly, now you have a rom-com starring you that’s 90 minutes long.”
Mustard added that “we’re just not very far off” being able to render photorealistic scenes in real time. “We jest about being in “Endgame,” but there’ll be that, too,” he said. “You could go back and watch some of your favorite movies or new things, and be like, “No, I want to see myself in the big battle in the background,” he said.
And he’s right there – the Chinese app Zao managed to conquer that feat over two years ago, albeit at a basic level. And now it’s a lot lot better … Fun times.
“Make me Doctor Strange,” Russo joked, before speculating that he could “take Humphrey Bogart and put him in a movie with George Clooney.”
The real value of AI, said Russo, is “the democratization of storytelling,” noting that, “anyone in this room could tell a story, or make a game at scale, with the help of a photoreal engine or an engine and AI tools.”
In the gaming world, the two creators predicted that AI will be used to populate the world of a videogame or to “curate your experience” by generating custom levels and game modes on the fly.
As we’ve already seen with Skybox labs …
“Say you want Fortnite to be more of a horror game,” said Russo. “You could ask the AI to ramp up the horror elements of it.”
Mustard cautioned that, “eventually, yeah, it’ll get there, but I think it’ll, for a while at least, require strong curation.” But ultimately, he said, AI is “just like any new tool or any new form. Artists and craftspeople, we’ll find ways to create new, awesome things with it. And it’s really just that, it’s another exciting, cool technology.”
And, while people comment over timelines, inevitably one day AI will be both movie creator and movie critic and we humans may no longer be the story tellers we once were …