IBM Watson: Here's what a movie trailer crafted by an AI looks like

IBM's Watson has learned about how humans react to films and helped create a trailer for an upcoming horror film.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

First an AI wrote a screenplay, now IBM Watson has helped create a movie trailer.

Film editors from 20th Century Fox have teamed up with IBM's AI system to create the trailer for the studio's upcoming film Morgan. Fittingly, Morgan is a sci-fi/horror movie about scientists who create an artificial humanoid whose powers grow out of control.

According to IBM, trailers can be expensive and time-consuming to make, taking teams of people up to 30 days to complete. With the help of Watson APIs, IBM was able to cut that process down to one day, creating the first so-called "cognitive movie trailer".

IBM has gradually been broadening the uses for Watson. The system was built by IBM to win the popular game show Jeopardy! and was later adapted for use in industries like banking and healthcare, and was more recently employed in self-driving vehicles.

Watson was exposed to 100 horror movie trailers. The training process involved Watson being fed thousands of scenes from these trailers, to enable the system to learn the types of moments that typically characterise a horror/suspense movie. After that, IBM fed the system all 90 minutes of Morgan, and, using its newly-gained knowledge of horror films, Watson then selected 10 clips that should be considered for the trailer.

Watson didn't actually do the final cutting and editing, which instead was handled by a human film editor. However, it did whittle down the film to just six minutes of footage. Of course, not everything it picked was suitable, but according to IBM, it offered a different way of evaluating scenes.

"Not surprisingly, our system chose some moments in the movie that were not included in other Morgan trailers. The system allowed us to look at moments in the movie in different ways -- moments that might not have traditionally made the cut were now shortlisted as candidates. On the other hand, when we reviewed all the scenes that our system selected, one didn't seem to fit with the bigger story we were trying to tell -- so we decided not to use it. Even Watson sometimes ends up with footage on the cutting room floor!"

You can see the final trailer at the top of the article, judge for yourself whether Watson did a good job.


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