An artificial intelligence that named itself Benjamin wrote David Hasselhoff's dialogue for "It's No Game," a science-fiction short film starring Hasselhoff as the Hoffbot (dressed in a gold smoking jacket and red "Baywatch" swim trunks). Other algorithms contributed dialogue and even the moves of a dance sequence.
The plot of "It's No Game" involves a Hollywood producer who tells a couple of screenwriters their threatened writer's strike doesn't matter -- they have AI to write the dialogue now, and in the future, humans won't be needed at all -- AI will be writing movies for other AI. The Hoffbot, whose lines are a surrealist mashup of his '80s and '90s TV shows, "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch," demonstrates Benjamin's talents. Things get even stranger (if that's possible) when nanobots invade the two screenwriters and make them perform dialogue generated by other algorithms trained on Shakespeare (Bard-O-Matic), Aaron Sorkin (the Sorkinator) and classic Hollywood romance movies (Golden-Age-O-Matic). This is followed by a ballet sequence that gives "Black Swan" a run for its money in creepiness.
The film was created by humans (at least we think it was), director Oscar Sharp and data scientist Ross Goodwin, as a followup to Benjamin's debut outing, YouTube hit "Sunspring." Both films were produced for the 48 Hour Film Challenge at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival.
Unlike the panicked screenwriters in "It's No Game," Sharp isn't worried about Benjamin taking his job. "In a way we're being a bit satirical about people who are afraid of what Ross [Goodwin] and I are doing," he told Ars Technica. But he wonders if AI might have a role in writing screenplays in the future: "Writing in multiple voices is challenging for any writer, and it just seemed so useful to be able to summon various voices on demand."
"I don't know who the hell I am," the Hoffbot sobs at the end of "It's No Game." Maybe he's not David Hasselhoff, but an incredible simulation.