IBM’s Watson helps design a movie trailer

IBMs Watson project has used AI techniques for a variety of things, perhaps most famously competing against humans on the gam show Jeopardy. It has even done an analysis of the characters in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novel series (the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones), concluding that the female characters are the strongest. (See this Business Insider article for more on that).

Now Watson has looked at hundreds of trailers for horror films and on the basis of analyzing them selected the 10 most trailer-worthy moments from the upcoming horror movie Morgan, which is about artificial intelligence. Those 10 pieces were then edited into a trailer by a human editor, not by Watson. That’s not as impressive as a fully automated trailer, but on the other hand, the overall process many times faster than traditional trailer creation. The people who edit trailers are sought-after, well-compensated specialists, and they might well find this trailer more terrifying than the movie itself, and not just the usual way trailers tend to be better than the movies they advertise.

Anyway, here’s the resulting 90-second trailer followed by a two-minute making-of:


The trailer reminds me a little of last year’s independent feature Ex Machina (reviewed here), but I doubt there’s any plagiarism going on. If you want to make a film about the development of the first human-like artificial intelligence, making the AI both creepy and sympathetic, and very possibly a girl or young woman, is a pretty obvious and by no means bad direction to take.

By the way, it might surprise you to learn that Morgan does not star Morgan Freeman. I say this not so much because the film is called Morgan as because it’s a studio picture and Morgan Freeman isn’t in it. Back in April children’s horror novelist R.L. Stine was a guest on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and he revealed that when he asked his son Matt who should play the R.L. Stine character in the Goosebumps movie, his son suggested Morgan Freeman. (Stine also said he mentioned to his wife that a lot of his fans had suggested that he play himself, and she said, “You’re too old to play yourself.”)

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