I can't wait for the autogenerated movies

published on Feb 17, 2024

Toby ❤︎ Pam Meanwhile, in a parallel (autogenerated) universe!

We’re at a point where it’s no longer science fiction, but fact — a cold, hard, irrefutable fact — that artificial intelligence can generate videos that are getting closer and closer to being indistinguishable from those shot with a camera.

This is not some far-off, distant future prediction. This is now. This is reality.

And, of course, the implications of this are staggering. We’ve just been handed an incredible new tool: the ability to create videos that are tailored to our exact specifications. Sure, there’s a learning curve — there always is — regarding prompt “engineering,” but compared to the complexities of traditional film production, it’s a walk in the park.

But this is only the first step.

The good

Let’s push the envelope a little. Let’s imagine a world where you could feed a machine a brief prompt and it spits out a full-length movie. Sounds far-fetched? Well, it’s already happening in the world of music. You give an AI a genre, a vibe, and it composes a song. Just like that.

Now, let’s extrapolate that to video. Picture this: “Netflix, generate a 45-minute comedy with a dash of action, set in space. Keep it light-hearted.” And just like that, Netflix buffers for a few seconds — not to download the movie, but to generate it. Or, to be precise, to generate the first 5 minutes, to then tailor the rest based on your reactions.

Don’t feel like laughing at sarcastic jokes today? No problem. The script changes in real-time. Bored with the storyline? New events pop up to keep you hooked. It’s like having a personal movie director who can read your mind.

Here’s another scenario: you’ve just binge-watched all nine seasons of The Office and you’re craving more. “NBC, create a new season of The Office set 2 years after the original series ended. Let’s follow Dwight and Angela on their beet farm, and oh, let’s have Jim and Pam drop by midway through the season.” And just like that, you’re watching a brand new season of The Office.


How cool is that!

This level of personalization can, of course, be adjusted for different use cases. If this technology were developed alongside VR/AR headsets, you could watch the same movie with your friends, but with minor changes applied to create different “flavors” of the same movie. The events, the characters, the storyline would all remain the same, but the presentation could be adjusted to cater to individual tastes (or sensitivities).

The (probably) bad

What would all of this mean to the world of cinema? I have no idea! Would NBC pay Rainn Wilson, Angela Kinsey, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer for “appearing” in your bespoke generated season of The Office? I don't think they would. Should they? Of course!

The challenge for actors, however, is that studios may not need to concern themselves with this issue: they have access to an inexhaustible supply of autogenerated characters ready to step in as replacements for human performers.

One thing for sure is that no matter how good this technology is going to get, people will most definitely continue to make movies the old way; just like photography didn’t stop people from practicing and admiring painting.

The dream

Personally, I eagerly anticipate the full development of this technology, not as a substitute for human-crafted content, but as an exciting new avenue for creativity and exploration.