Watch a sci fi short film co-written by AI

The dialog for the artificial intelligence character in this short film was written by AI. Meta much?

(Warning: The embedded video is mostly harmless but contains a few curse words that may not be appropriate for work.)

Hollywood has been trying to put writers out of work since the first screenplay came back a little flat. With advances in AI storytelling, that bleak vision may be closer than some of us would hope.

A new short film about a sci fi world in which virtual reality is the primary entertainment was co-written by RivetAI, a suite of AI storytelling tools developed on Hollywood film sets. RivetAI's main features include tasks like script highlighting, scene mapping, and movie budgeting tools. But the headline grabber is the agile story generation, which uses Deep Learning to suitably create narration and dialog, which a human can then brush up.

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Following its 2016 viral hit short film Sunspring featuring Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch, RivetAI has released a new 6+ minute short, called Progress Bar. Most of the movie was written by humans, but AI specifically wrote the dialog for LEXI, the AI character in the short.

RivetAI is just one among a growing number of AI tools the film industry is turning to as movie goers increasingly opt for streaming services over theaters. IBM's Watson famously cut a trailer for the film Morgan in 2016, and Big Data is currently being used to predict viewer preferences, which in turn is driving creative decisions among filmmakers.

Independent film company Legendary Entertainment uses a suite of AI tools, including one that chooses promo visuals that are most likely to resonate with audiences.

The dialog written by RivetAI for Progress Bar is passable, although the tone does feel a little disjointed from time to time. That's good news for writers, although the end may be nigh.

My Ebert algorithm gives the short three out of four stars.