Car Industry

First AI-scripted commercial tugs hard at our heart strings -- for a Lexus

The script for the Lexus ES ad was developed by IBM's Watson artificial intelligence system. Watson basically figured out how to hook us emotionally.

The first AI-scripted commercial has debuted, and it's for Lexus.

IBM's Watson artificial intelligence system developed the ad script for the European launch of the Lexus ES. It's directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, Lexus said Monday.

The commercial shows a Lexus ES leaving the factory and the emotional craftsman who made it. The ad then jumps to a "crash test" scene where the car is being dragged toward a truck. As the concerned craftsman watches, the car saves itself with its automatic emergency braking system.

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The ad shows the bond between a Lexus craftsman and the car he created.

Lexus

The ad was a result of a partnership between Lexus creative agency The&Partnership London, technical partner Visual Voice and the IBM Watson team. They used AI to analyze 15 years of award-winning car and luxury brand ads, along with other data, and picked out the common elements to create a script outline.

Its human collaborators then built the commercial's story from that outline.

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"The fact the AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform," Macdonald said in a statement.

"The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge."

The ad comes days after Google's AI chief highlighted its limitations -- noting that it isn't good at creative thinking -- and China's state media debuted a creepy AI anchor.

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