It looks like A.I. will be coming for more than just a few jobs, as an upcoming feature film will feature a character set to be played by a first-of-it’s-kind artificial intelligence
‘b’ will tell the story of a scientist who stumbles on the dangers of a program he created to perfect human DNA. The scientist will then proceed to help a woman by the name of Erica, herself created by his program, escape from further danger.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the $70 million film will be the first of its kind as the industry attempts to move forward and combat the stalling of products due to Covid-19.
b will be based on on a story by Eric Pham, Sam Khoze, and Tarek Zohdy, and produced through Life Entertainment.
The film will also receive financial backing from Bondit Capital Media (Loving Vincent), Happy Moon Productions (Cover), and New York’s Ten Ten Global Media.
The creation of Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogama, Erica was originally created as part of their study with robotics. According to Sam Khoze, the pair taught the A.I. how to act via the principles of method acting, which also allows Erica to emotionally identify with a role.
Khoze goes on to explain how the artificially intelligent actor is using method acting to learn human mannerisms and interactions.
He explains, “In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role. But Erica has no life experiences. She was created from scratch to play the role. We had to simulate her motions and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of her movements, talking through her feelings, and coaching character development and body language.”
Erica’s first role wasn’t supposed to be in b. The A.I. actor was originally set to be used in a project by Tony Kaye, director of American History X, but this plan fell through due to scheduling issues.
The use of an A.I. to a portray a human role in front of the camera isn’t all that new of a concept.
China’s Xinhua state news outlet is using an artificially created “female” news anchor known as Xin Xiaomeng.
Xiaomeng’s debut came two years after the creation of digital news anchor Qiu Hao in 2018. Developed by both the news outlet and China’s search engine Sogou, the actors were created by employing machine learning which simulated human behavior such as voice, tone, facial movements, and even gestures.
So far there is no human co-star for Erica or a director for the film, though the producers have confirmed that production on some of Erica’s scenes had been completed in 2019.
With the current restrictions, b is expected to return to film in Europe in June 2021.
What do you think of this? Will artificial intelligence find a home in Hollywood? If so, what sort of consequences could the industry see if Erica becomes a hit?