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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

August 31, 2016 | 2 min read

IBM’s artificial intelligence programme obviously reached the pinnacle when it guest-edited an issue of the The Drum magazine but now it has also conceived the world’s first ever movie trailer composed by an AI (trailer above - behind the scenes follows).

20th Century Fox partnered with IBM Research to develop the trailer for upcoming AI horror thriller Morgan, featuring Fantastic 4 actor Kate Mara as she is tasked with investigating an accident caused by an AI in a top secret location.

Watson was fed the trailers of more than 100 horror films to help it identify the normative structure and path in the horror genre. It embarked on a visual, audio, and composition analysis of these clips, categorising the variables and generating the movie using probabilities once it gained an understanding of the genre.

The tricky part was teaching the machine the tropes involved in cutting the trailers, from moments of terror, suspense and more using sequential clips from the movie, making the most of audio and visual cues.

John R Smith of IBM said: “There are patterns and types of emotions in horror movies that resonate differently with each viewer, and the intricacies and interrelation of these are what an AI system would have to identify and understand in order to create a compelling movie trailer.

“Our team was faced with the challenge of not only teaching a system to understand, ‘what is scary’, but then to create a trailer that would be considered ‘frightening and suspenseful’ by a majority of viewers.

The system made the cut of the movie, from six minutes of footage in 24 hours, at least 10 times faster than the average length of time it typically takes a team to cut a trailer.

Smith concluded: “This research investigation is simply the first of many into what we hope will be a promising area of machine and human creativity. We don’t have the only solution for this challenge, but we’re excited about pushing the possibilities of how AI can augment the expertise and creativity of individuals.”

You can read more about the scheme here.

IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence 20th Century Fox

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