How Far are We from Fully Automated Movies?

When people hear the term “automated movie,” all sorts of misconceptions and misunderstandings arise. On the one end, a lot of people assume that this is about artificial intelligence, machine learning or computer-generated imagery or CGI.

Well, that’s just one part of the puzzle. And as technology continues to evolve, interestingly enough, that piece of the puzzle begins to shrink. It’s beginning to become more readily apparent that fully automating a movie has more to do with the story.

In other words, instead of an author going to Hollywood and talking to producers to get a particular story turned into a movie, the movie pretty much writes itself. I know that sounds scary. It even sounds a little bit grotesque, but it’s absolutely true.

You have to understand that Hollywood has always been a money-making machine. If given a choice, it would rather automate everything and produce hit after hit after hit.

As much as possible, it does not want to rely on flesh and blood writers, producers and directors to create materials because, let’s face it, some go on to become monster hits, but most flop at the box office. And Hollywood, being a business, does not want flops.

So what’s the solution? Fully automated movies. In other words, they would run a piece of software that would pay attention to Google searches, Tweets, Instagram posts, hashtags, you name it. And using this big data, they would come up with trends.

What are people talking about? What are people emotional about? What are people wasting a tremendous amount of time obsessing about? So they would dump all these topics and then they would slice and dice that based on demographic information to come up with storylines or plot lines.

Of course, the software would probably do some social media-based testing of this to make sure that if Hollywood raises a flag, enough people would salute it for it to be worth their while raising the flag in the first place. Do you see how this works? I hope you got the analogy.

So after enough testing, the software would then synthesize the story and make it go through several versions using fully CGI actors and actresses. Everything, the background, all the scenery—everything is artificial. Everything just happens inside a solid state drive.

And the best part to all of this, or the worst, depending on your perspective, is that they would test everything. What I mean by this is that they would come up with many versions of the movie and then they would send copies to select test audiences to see if they like what they see. And if there is enough mathematical indication of interest, then the version that got the most interest would be made and released to the public.

I know this sounds scary because this, of course, means the end of the directors, producers, actors, and a wide range of people who earn their bread and butter providing physical labor for Hollywood. Why? Everything takes place in the software. Everything takes place on a flash drive somewhere. Sounds crazy.

Thankfully, we are still quite a ways away. But it’s only a matter of time because the profit motive is there. And we definitely already have the technology.