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.
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.