The debate about the impact of AI on society continues to rage and for the main, I am a relatively passive observer. There's an inevitability about the march of progress and I'm a believer that society will evolve and we'll see machine learning and AI encroach in some areas while in others, their impact will be minimal.
When it comes to functions that require emotion, I've been safe in the belief that machines will not replace humans. And storytelling seemed to me to be ring fenced. After all, can you imagine a machine coming up with Lord of The Rings?
But it seems that all might be about to change if the research highlighted by the paper from McKinsey is anything to go by. It's a fascinating study into the manner in which machine learning models review videos and then construct emotional arcs for each one. And as emotional arcs are the constructs for the most successful content, it seems possible that AI could indeed create believable and compelling stories in the future.
The research challenges the belief that machines cannot deliver emotions. If through machine learning, the system can assimilate enough data to construct a compelling narrative, then what more could it do? From a storytelling perspective, if the machine can learn from the emotional reaction of a movie audience, what could be possible in a B2B scenario? Could a machine gather sufficient data to predict buyer responses and create a story that would be more effective in drawing in the buyer than another created by a human?
It's a fascinating future and one which will continue to attract research and the smartest minds. I'll pay more attention to this, that's for sure because if the machines are on the march against us storytellers, then we'd better be ready.
Sunspring debuted at the SCI-FI LONDON film festival in 2016. Set in a dystopian world with mass unemployment, the movie attracted many fans, with one viewer describing it as amusing but strange. But the most notable aspect of the film involves its creation: an artificial-intelligence (AI) bot wrote Sunspring’s screenplay.