Saatchi & Saatchi, as it does every year at Cannes Lions, will showcase the best new directing talent at its annual New Directors' Showcase. But this year, one film will be vastly different from all the rest. This one film will have been created entirely through the use of artificial intelligence.
Working together with Team One, Saatchi & Saatchi’s LA luxury and premium brand agency and Zoic Labs, Saatchi & Saatchi assembled a cast of artificial intelligence, algorithms and machines in the same manner that a studio would assemble a traditional film crew. Several technologies were used in crafting the film from start to finish, including IBM Watson, Microsoft’s Ms_Rinna, Affectiva’s facial recognition software, EEG data and a custom neural art program.
The film -- conceived, shot and edited on these machines -- debuts on the anniversary of computer pioneer Alan Turing’s birth on June 23, 1912.
Interactive Architecture Lab Director at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Ruairi Glynn, is a practicing artist and academic specializing in the field of AI and Robotics. Of the effort, he said, “Alan Turing was the first person to ask the question ‘Can machines think?’ which then leads immediately to the question of whether machines can be creative. We have begun to see machines making new and surprising things which are aesthetically compelling. The remaining big question of artificial creativity is whether the machine can understand the significance of the thing it has created? It’s interesting to explore the potential to build machines that simulate human intelligence but the really exciting future is developing new forms of creative intelligence quite unlike our own."
On the notion of the potential proliferation of non-human powered creativity, Team One Chief Creative Director Chris Graves said, “What defines a director? Twenty-five years ago, at the start of the New Directors’ Showcase, directors were a particular kind of person with a particular set of skills. But technology has been evolving that definition ever since. Now, new directors debut every day on online platforms like YouTube, Vine and Snapchat.”
Can a machine think? Can it create something with as much thoughtful insight as a human being? In 25 years will creative departments be staffed entirely by robots much in the same way car manufacturing plants are staffed by robots? Is this something we even want? Will we be willing to give up our Cannes Lions to these machines?
Let's have lunch in Cannes 25 years from now and compare notes, OK?