Award-winning science fiction creator Lavie Tidhar is a busy man. Between his personal writing and enhancing initiatives, together with The Best of World SF anthologies, he works with animator Nir Yaniv on sci-fi movie sequence through their firm Positronish, together with Mars Machines, about “a toaster and a espresso pot on Mars”, and movie noir Loontown. However when Yaniv approached him about one more undertaking, creating one thing utilizing the AI image-generation program Midjourney, he stated sure – with a couple of situations.
The end result, Welcome to Your AI Future! – which you’ll be able to watch beneath – is an unsettlingly surreal quick movie, set in a future through which the world has been destroyed, however one human has been discovered by an apparently well-meaning synthetic intelligence, which is eager to assist – to the very best of its potential.
Alison Flood: Who got here up with the concept on your newest undertaking?
Lavie Tidhar: The entire thing began as a result of I’ve a good friend who’s a recreation designer and he began telling me about Midjourney with nice enthusiasm. I believed it was wonderful and advised Nir to go and play with it. We have been very conscious of the moral discussions happening, however we had no intention of doing something with it.
Then Nir phoned me up. And he stated, if we may do one thing like La Jetée, the French sci-fi movie from the 60s, manufactured from single photographs, that may very well be form of fascinating. The plot of La Jetée entails a person time-travelling from a post-apocalyptic Paris to our current – it was the inspiration for 12 Monkeys. We simply favored the technical facet of it: are you able to inform a cinematic story utilizing solely nonetheless photographs?
My first response was no. Then I believed, what if we use AI instruments to make a movie about AI – that makes it fascinating! I got here residence and began writing. It’s principally a futuristic AI attempting to speak to the final surviving human. My different be aware was, if we do this, then we’ve got to ensure that the narration can also be completed by AI. The audio is made up of two AI-generated voices, female and male, which can be merged collectively into a really disconcerting voice.
So each picture is a results of Nir asking Midjourney to provide you with one thing associated to a scrap from the story, is that the way it labored?
Sure. I needed to write instructions into the taking pictures script. What kind of photographs, what kind of feeling they should evoke. Nir then sat for 3 entire days and generated 1000s of photographs. I don’t know the way he didn’t go mad. A number of it was about truly kind of forcing the AI into the best place. I believe Nir used himself as a seed picture for some photographs for the human.
We have been actually leaning into the “uncanny valley” facet of it. So every picture is improper ultimately. My favorite bit is I wrote in these rabbits, the place the AI is attempting to relax the human by displaying footage of rabbits. And it’s so disturbing! The concept is that the AI is attempting to do its greatest, but it surely by no means fairly will get every part proper.
What are your considerations round AI? As a author, do you may have worries about it encroaching in your territory?
These AI methods, they don’t have creativity. They need to be directed to do something, they will’t provide you with something new. I don’t fear about another author on the planet, I don’t continuously fear that I’m in competitors with the 8 billion individuals who could be higher than me at writing, as a result of the one factor that you could convey to any form of artwork is your self. It’s that distinctive perspective. And these instruments don’t have that.
There are reliable worries about firms utilizing AI as a substitute of human artists to avoid wasting prices. However from a inventive perspective, it’s actually nothing greater than a instrument that we acquired to make use of and needed to actually work with it to attempt to get the impact we would have liked.
Do you may have any plans for different initiatives like this with Midjourney?
No – however I believe it was enjoyable to play with. I believed the end result was actually fascinating and we wished to leap in on the dialog whereas it was taking place, as a result of it’s shifting so quick.
It’s a priority that if you happen to may be changed with a machine, you may be changed with a machine. However folks stated the identical factor in regards to the digital camera. They stated the identical factor about Photoshop, and we nonetheless want artists, and we nonetheless want folks to convey that distinctive perspective.
It should take a interval of adjustment, however we’re nowhere close to the precise basic synthetic intelligence that we’ve got within the movie. I simply wished to speak about – and I see this from AI scientists as properly – the concept AI goes to take over the world and destroy humanity. That appears such a Seventies catastrophe film sci-fi model of the long run to me. If something, any evolving AI goes to be so closely depending on people.
So I wished to speak in regards to the concept of AI simply attempting to assist and possibly getting it catastrophically improper. The movie doesn’t counsel that it was the AI that precipitated the destruction of the planet. It was individuals who did that, and the AI form of simply misses them.