TEDxBoston 2017

Ross Goodwin, Oscar Sharp

Machines Making Movies

In 2016, Benjamin wrote a script called Sunspring, which we made into a short film featuring Thomas Middleditch (star of HBO’s Silicon Valley). It caused quite a stir. Not so much because of the mysterious storyline or the garish gold costumes. But because Benjamin is a machine. Specifically, a long short-term memory recurrent neural network Artificial Intelligence. We’ll explore what it took to build Benjamin, and teach her to be a screenwriter. And we’ll invite you to consider what it means to collaborate creatively with AI. We recommend that you watch the Sunspring video (http://www.thereforefilms.com/sunspring.html) before viewing the TEDxBoston talk.

 

Video

Speakers' Biographies

Ross Goodwin

Ross Goodwin is an artist, creative technologist, hacker, gonzo data scientist, and former White House ghostwriter. He employs machine learning, natural language processing, and other computational tools to realize new forms and interfaces for written language.

His projects — from word.camera, a camera that expressively narrates photographs in real time using artificial neural networks, to Sunspring (with Oscar Sharp, starring Thomas Middleditch), the world’s first film created from an AI-written screenplay — have earned international acclaim.

Goodwin’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, CBS News, the Financial Times, the Irish Times, El Pais, CBC Radio Canada, RTE Radio Ireland, ABC Radio Australia, Deutschlandradio, the Guardian, the Globe and Mail, Ars Technica, VICE Motherboard, Gizmoto, Engadget, TechCrunch, CNET, Forbes, Slate, FiveThirtyEight, Fast Company, the Huffington Post, Mashable, Fusion, Quartz, PetaPixel, and other publications. He has exhibited or spoken at Science Gallery Dublin, the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) DocLab in Amsterdam, the TriBeCa Film Festival Interactive Showcase in New York, the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York, Phi Centre in Montreal, Gray Area in San Francisco, the MIT Media Lab, Maker Faire, GitHub Universe, the NIPS machine learning conference, Molasses Books in Bushwick, and other venues.

Goodwin earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from MIT in 2009, and his graduate degree from NYU ITP in May 2016.

Oscar Sharp

Oscar is a BAFTA-nominated filmmaker and Screen International Star of Tomorrow. His films have received many prizes internationally, from the likes of Joss Whedon, Guillermo del Toro and Sir Alan Parker. Awarded a Fulbright and a BAFTA scholarship, he attended at NYU Graduate Film, alma mater of Scorsese and Ang Lee, studying under professors Todd Solondz, Spike Lee and Darren Aronofsky. In 2015 his short film T​he Kármán Line was nominated for a BAFTA and released by The New Yorker. He signed a one-picture blind deal with Tobey Maguire's Material Pictures. In spring of 2016, he and his technologist collaborator Ross Goodwin created Benjamin, the world's first artificially-intelligent screenwriter, and shot the first purely AI-written film, Sunspring starring Thomas Middleditch. In 2017 they followed this up with It's No Game starring David Hasselhoff and Sarah Hay. In summer 2016, 20th Century Fox acquired Ben Mezrich's upcoming book Woolly: The True Story of the De-Extinction of One of History’s Most Iconic Creatures for Oscar to adapt for the screen. ​ He is also developing feature films with Echo Lake Entertainment and SUMS. He is represented in the USA by United Talent Agency and in the UK by Independent Talent.

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