A comprehensive guide to computer industry news. Click heads to Los Angeles to see if an artificial intelligence can direct a music video.
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With the AI film director, emotional clothes, and robot
This is what happens when you let an artificial
In a future with mass unemployment, young people
Sunspring is a film whose script was written entirely
by an AI chatbot, one that's been designed to mimic
It's a fun watch but only, I feel, if you're in on the joke.
It seems that writing a gripping, real and coherent narrative
is beyond AI at the moment, but what if you were to give it
the words and let it be the director?
What if you gave an AI complete creative control, over
That was what Saatchi Saatchi commissioned LA-based
It's a real out on a limb kind of experiment for film.
They decided not to make a full length feature film,
but instead to embark on a more manageable project, a pop video,
which is something that many new directors cut their teeth on.
A French dance group gave them permission to interpret
The lyrics would form the script but the interpretation would be
completely down to the machine, or more accurately, the machines.
A director's job involves a lot of different disciplines
So given that there is no one big artificial brain somewhere
that can do all that, we assembled the best
and most progressive pieces of artificial intelligence,
kind of in a collective, to do that.
First up, IBM's Watson was used to analyse the lyrics and make
an educated guess at the emotions of each line.
Based on these, the humans could ask the next AI questions about
For that, take to the director's chair, Ms Rinna.
We came up with a series of questions that you might ask
somebody like me when you are prepping for a job,
I could imagine a creative type coming up with that.
Ms Rinna is a Japanese Twitter chatbot that appears to be
And it was asked a whole load of questions on who the characters
in the lyrics were, what actions they should perform and what outfits
Do you have any kind of understanding about how it came
up with those answers, day and night, night
From what we understand, this particular AI has been
programmed by having conversations with fans.
It is a Twitter handle, it has millions of conversations
It can relate but it is relating in a way that a 17-year-old
girl on Twitter would, I guess.
So how does a director choose the right actor for a role?
Well, it is probably someone who feels emotionally connected
to the work and then can transmit those emotions to the audience but
And that is something that computers don't have, but what computers can
do is measure the performer's brain activity using an EEG like this.
In a very unusual casting session, ten unsuspecting actors
were asked to perform the song while their facial expressions
and brainwaves were compared to those of the song's lead singer
The guy with the best emotional match got the gig.
And when we asked them to do that, they said,
And we said that the director needs that information
in order to make a choice, so that whoever he picks has
Did the actor know at this point that
When did the actor find out the director was an AI?
Does the actor know currently that the director is AI?
In fact when we cast him, we brought him down to the set
We said, it's going to be a little weird because we are going to be
giving you direction based on the artificial intelligence's
understanding of what this song is and what your actions
And unfortunately, I'm just an assistant director in this
scenario and I'm not really allowed to do anything other than to execute
the vision of the artificial intelligence, or help it along.
If it seems weird, it is weird because my nature is to tell
I have to go, excuse me, what do you think?
On the day of the shoot, even the camera drones followed
flight paths that were based on Watson's emotional
And when it came to the edit, choosing the shots and cutting it
all together, Zoic built a brand new editor AI.
This started by creating random assortments of shots and then
learned from feedback from the humans which types
After many iterations, the finished video was given
a visual treatment that was itself a type of mural art.
Adding a day and night style to the two characters' scenes.
The result is a pop video that is not going to win any awards.
In fact, the band, whose videos are usually very highly produced,
have distanced themselves from the whole thing.
And I'm not really convinced that an AI has actually
I mean, what they've done is got a load of different AIs to do
Including asking a chatbot what this fellow should wear.
But then the people at Zoic aren't really saying otherwise.
The exercise we went through provided a lot
The output itself of the video, it could be better,
But I think for a first attempt, a worthy effort.
As the director behind the scenes, I'm like, wow, that is super
intimidating because it won't be long before this technology actually
evolves where that editor that we created becomes
absolutely able to interpret, like, that shot is running and it
has emotion and it sweeps, I should definitely use that.
And if that cuts to the close-up of this emotional expression,
you will feel and it will understand how one influences the other.
And all of a sudden we are going to get really emotional cutting
And if you might permit just a slight indulgence on my part,
the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that Loni was
It's actually a door from the ship in Joss Weedon's really rather
excellent and criminally cancelled before its time TV show,
Loni worked as the series' visual effects supervisor
and if you would like to find out why he has the door, as well as how
he helped design the ship, head to our YouTube and Facebook
pages for the geekiest chat that two grown men can possibly have
Time to change gear here in California, a state which is not
It also has a long history of innovative aviation
and aeronautics companies testing aircraft over its wide open spaces.
But there is one outfit here that has worked on projects so secret
that the US government has often denied its existence.
But Marc Cieslak found it and got exclusive access to the Skunk Works.
A Cold War spy plane capable of flying
It evolved from a plane commissioned by the CIA in the late '50s,
designed at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.
More used to creating secret aircraft, Skunk Works has
turned its talents to creating something much slower.
We have to be careful about what we film here
at Skunk Works because they perform lots of work on classified projects.
However, Lockheed Martin have allowed us to film
their one third scale model of the airship.
It is the biggest scale model I have ever seen although technically this
This is a hybrid airship designed for lifting cargo.
It has three inflatable hulls, with helium providing 80%
It has thrusters which can change direction allowing it to take off
They also allow the airship to fly much more like
It does away with landing gear, making use of hovercraft technology
to get it on the ground or onto water.
This demonstrator is actually three times smaller
So airships have been around for a long time.
Why is it taking so long for governments, for commercial
operators to get on board with this sort of aircraft?
At the end of the day, for us it is hard to change.
And so when you see something like this, so different,
and aircraft are expensive, so this is a fairly big risk,
but the biggest aspect we bring in is remote cargo.
Areas that do not have a road or a rail line or any
We would like to do that in a sustainable way so we are not
hurting the environment, or at least as little as possible,
and without a road or rail line to get to those sites,
With the airships, we can take that part away.
Lockheed is not the only aerospace outfit working
Rival cargo carriers are being developed in the US and UK.
However, the boffins at Skunk Works have developed a novel way to keep
In order to see how they do that, I've got to get inside
So this is how you enter the inside of the airship.
You've got to try to make sure you don't lose any of the air
As airships are inflatable, they are susceptible to damage
which could create holes in its skin.
Finding and patching those holes is an important task.
Ever wondered what it's like to be inside a bouncy castle?
Somewhere in here there should be a spider.
Or to be more precise, it is one half of the spider
because the other half is on the other side
On the other side, there is a light that is shining upwards.
Because there will be light shining through the skin of the airship.
If it finds a hole, its job is then to patch it up.
In fact just under here we can see a patch that has
We had the opportunity to go inside the airship.
Normally you would not be able to go inside it, a human being would not
That's right, it's full of helium so it's hard to breathe in there.
They wear oxygen masks to do that kind of thing.
Also, it's very hard to plug a hole on the top of the airship
from the inside of the airship, there's no way to get scaffolding up
Patching it up with a robot, that allows you to patch those holes
Lockheed aims to have their hybrid airships operational
At which point, swarms of spiders will perform robotic repairs.
It was the week that Tinder announced its group function,
meaning that the app could have a long-term relationship
with you even after you have found love.
Tinder Social hopes to help you plan a night out with a chance
to make friends or meet up with groups nearby,
making connections that are not just about hooking up.
Mercedes put its self-driving bus to the test in Amsterdam.
The Future Bus successfully took a 20 kilometre trip without the need
for a driver, leaving him able to nod knowingly at passengers.
As well as camera and radar systems, it recognises traffic lights,
The Museum of London is using the video game, Minecraft,
350 years on, Great Fire 1666 will allow players to walk down
the streets of London, interact with people and combat
the plague, whilst also searching for audio clips to tell the story.
And finally, children at a Connecticut school have joined
forces with a local aquarium to help an injured penguin.
Five years after tearing her flexor tendon, she got lucky
when the school purchased a 3D printer.
They have created her a lightweight book to help her p-p-pick
Now back in January, I visited Pier 39 in San Francisco,
home to Autodesk's creative workshop, where artists
and researchers are let loose on CAD software and 3D printers to come up
Well, now it is time to meet one of those artists over
at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
I have trained as an architect and currently I am doing
my PhD in media art, and exploring the relationship
of human bodies with the space around.
I am basically exploring this relationship by using interactive
One of them is our near environment, which basically means our
And the other, I am exploring that relationship with the space around,
I am exploring how architecture can respond to humans,
Curse Of The Gaze is an interactive 3D printed outfit.
It is basically exploring how our fashion can be
I really wanted to create something that becomes
It is equipped with a camera, and the camera is located
The camera can see your age, gender and where you were looking,
and based on what you are looking at, it moves and
So if someone is here, they are looking at the cape
It is an extension of your brain to your garment, basically.
The garment thinks it is real and perceives the world,
almost to the most fundamental aspects of social interaction,
And by looking at each other, we communicate meanings,
and sometimes our gaze can be intrusive.
Sometimes our gaze can be reassuring.
In other words, if you can feel someone's gaze on your body,
your perception of the world is going to be different.
Synapse is a 3D-printed interactive helmet that moves
When it goes higher, your attention goes higher,
and the helmet opens up so you can actually pay attention
to the world around you, and as your attention level gets
less, basically it creates a cocoon around your head.
The brain sensor is basically capturing information,
gathering it on various different brain frequencies.
And then it sends the information related to your attention level
to a microcontroller, which is again embedded inside.
And that information can control two small servos located
Basically you map your attention level to control servos
Aurora is an interactive ceiling application which can see body
movement underneath it and respond accordingly.
Particularly it uses the ideas on body interaction, in other words
how our bodily movement, not just the tips of our fingers
on the mobile phone, can inform interaction,
but how our movements within the space can inform
The ceiling has a computer vision which is basically using a Kinect
It sends that information to a series of microcontrollers
in which they are controlling 15 different motors.
And those motors can inform the motion of each of the notes
Like most American cities, LA is a driving city.
It can take ages to get across town because of, well,
So if you are a parent who has to take their kids somewhere for two
or three hours before picking them up again,
it might not actually be worth your while coming
So what do you do if you are a parent who is too busy to ferry
Kate Russell has taken a hop, skip and a drive
Lots of homework, hectic after school activity schedules,
being ferried around by your parents.
I think it is time for you to get ready to go.
Hang on a minute, that actually looks pretty good,
Juggling work commitments with school runs and extracurricular
For some parents, a taxi is the only option, but how do
you know your children are safe getting into a car with a stranger?
That is the question HopSkipDrive set out to answer.
Three of us created the company and we are all working mums.
We have eight children between us who go to six different schools
and participate in every kid activity known to man.
Carly loves to dance and she is pretty good at it, too.
We originally lived somewhere different, we lived really close
to the freeway and we had good access.
And then we moved here and we could not get to class
on time, coming to work and then back down.
So we put her in a local dance studio which wasn't the same.
HopSkipDrive says it runs background checks on all its drivers
They also told us that applicants must have at least five
Compared to other rideshare services,
A minimum fare of around $15 depending on where you are based,
and looking at fare calculation comparisons with Uber,
it seems to be about 30-50% more expensive over the distance,
although there are no surcharges during peak hours with HopSkipDrive.
But the founders think what they do is different from a taxi.
So for my son Jackson, his care driver will park,
go into the school, sign him out, there is a booster seat for him
because he's not eight, and I can track the ride
Rides are scheduled ahead of time with clearly branded cars
and drivers who have a secret password to give to the children
on pick-up so everyone can be sure they are getting in the right car.
What happens when they come and pick you up?
First, I get a text message on my phone and then
when they come up to the door, they tell me the password
and they go in the car and we have a conversation.
For the drivers, many of them mothers themselves,
it is a much more rewarding job than just driving a taxi.
How is it driving lots of different kids?
My main objective is just to obviously be friendly,
and some kids just get in and they have their headphones
on and they have their music playing, you know, and they just
need to chill out because they have just come from school or dance,
and other times, you know, some of the kids are really chatty,
so I just have to take the emotional temperatures.
Now Carly can go to the dance studio she loves, and Jennifer can manage
I cannot leave work early every single day, so that is good.
So far limited to a few areas in California,
HopSkipDrive plans a careful expansion into more
They have also recently added carpooling to reduce the cost,
and this should help to ease congestion around school
That was Kate and that is it from LA for the moment.
I have a feeling we will be popping back here every so often
Meanwhile, on Twitter we live @bbcclick, online we are:
The fortunes weather wise across the UK very from west to east as we look