Machine

Protagonist

Machine

Protagonist

Fabrication

A tiny computer with huge potential.

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MACHINE is a documentary feature film from the creators of the hit NETFLIX series CHEF'S TABLE.  The movie explores creativity, humanity, artificial intelligence, and the future.


The filmmakers tasked us with finding a way to pre-interview and connect with the talent in a meaningful way, that could be used for the international promotion and marketing of the film. Using an AI was a natural solution, but how could we make it more interesting than just getting them to engage with an app or a website?


We designed a very tiny, 80’s inspired computer a la Wozniak. It was designed to be intriguing and charming, it had to make the talent want to interact with it. The size of the product made it feel like a Pixar character, and the 80’s feel, mixed with a high tech AI, made it intriguing. It was cute and made people want to talk to it.

We modified Cakechat, the open-source predecessor to Replika. Replika is a neural network chatbot, designed to be an AI friend that is always there for you. The AI is able to get to know and keep your memories. Our version of it was trained on numerous twitter feeds to help it with colloquial language and was also seeded with a bunch of pre-interview questions provided by the director.

We ended up with some interesting results!


User:              so let's quit for today


protagonist: Oh... I'm sorry...

protagonist: I'm not going again.


User:              my son is already off


protagonist:  Dad: I'm not leaving.

protagonist:  No. I'm going to be in this house.


User:              I'm not your dad. who could be?


protagonist: I'll be here for you.

protagonist: I'll be here for you


User:              that's not true. I'm typing for you, and your film team


protagonist: I'll be here for you

protagonist: ...... You're the best to be alive...


User:              third time does not make it any better


protagonist: I'm in the same boat...


User:              not sure


protagonist: I'll keep a lookout for you.


User:              predicting the future


protagonist: I'll be there.


User:              sounds like horror



As an interviewing tool, Protagonist is a first step to a greater product. The end goal is to create a full AI story producer that is able to find common themes to assist directors with interviews.

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