In June, 20th Century Fox released the thrilling trailer for new movie Morgan – a film that centres upon a hostile humanoid robot whose fate is determined by a risk-management consultant played by Paul Giamatti. Today (2nd September 2016) sees the full film’s release in cinemas nationwide but earlier this week the production company (rather aptly) dropped a rather eerie trailer using the help of IBM Research’s artificial intelligence program, Watson.

IBM's Watson delivers an eerie AI-made trailer for sci-fi thriller 'Morgan'Click To Tweet

In order to train Watson for the task it used technological systems to sift through 100 horror movie trailers, each cut into separate “moments”. Watson then performed visual, audio and composition analysis on each scene to develop an idea of what people deem scary. After all this, the machine was finally fed the entire 90-minute final cut of Morgan in order to find the ‘right moments’ to include in the trailer. The supercomputer instantly honed in on a total of ten scenes making up six minutes of content. A human was still required to arrange these scenes into a coherent story, but the real milestone in this story is that Watson’s involvement shortened the process to just 24 hours. On average film trailer can take between 10 days to a month to complete. So, if there is someone out there working on an editing-bot we could be ready to boot all creatives from the post-production filmmaking world in order for the machines to take over!

The supercomputer has been used in many creative and intelligence experiments from assisting in cooking, reading and predicting emotions and competing (and winning) against humans on gameshow Jeopardy. This however is the first time Watson has been used in such a way to create media in order to appeal to a certain audience in a creative manner and the result is indeed quite horrifying and rather apt if you consider the story is about a group of scientists who create a humanoid machine that rapidly gains capabilities and goes out of control.

How do you create a trailer about an AI human? You turn to the real thing!Click To Tweet

The trailer itself may not feel as natural and fluid as your usual blockbuster trailer as the clips chosen aren’t really the best representation of the movie and while eerie, does lack direction. The editing (done by a human) makes the best of the footage provided and this is down to the sound analysed by Watson which was highlighted as ‘scary’ to audiences rather than perhaps picking sections that included some narrative and build-up that explain a situation that would normally be found in film trailers; especially for something with a seemingly complex narrative as audiences may be left wondering what exactly the film is about after this minute of content.

A full explanation of how Watson chose the clips for the trailer can be found here on IBM’s research blogs.