The Hollywood perception of artificial intelligence (AI) hasn’t always been positive. As professor Marcus Du Sautoy, an AI and creativity expert, puts it, the view is generally that AI and robots “are going to take over and put us all out of a job.”
In a conversation with Variety Streaming Room, presented by Campari, the team behind Fellini Forward — a short film backed by Campari that uses AI to mimic Federico Fellini’s signature style — spoke to Variety’s Manori Ravindran about the genesis of the idea and its execution. An accompanying documentary about the making of the film also details the ins and outs of the process.
Along with Du Sautoy, the panelists included: Francesca Fabbri Fellini, Federico’s niece and contributor; Maximilian Niemann, the short film director; Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, documentary directors; and Anita Todesco, Campari’s galleria curator.
Niemann spoke about AI fulfilling Fellini’s body of work. “This idea to create a film using AI and digging deep in the genius of Federico Fellini, or at least trying to get a grasp of his genius, was intriguing from the beginning because he’s such an influential filmmaker — I would say the most influential filmmaker of the 20th century.”
Cooper expressed the same sentiment, adding: “As documentarians and storytellers ourselves, we’re always asking questions [that are, at their core,] ‘What is this story?’”
Du Sautoy said AI is a positive invention despite the myriad misconceptions: “I have a very positive view about the involvement of AI because in some ways what AI can do is to see things at a scale that we humans can’t. So we got so much data available to us.”
Cooper said the taboo nature of AI needs to change. What’s needed, he says, is to “shift our sentiment a little bit, and our point of view.”
Added Cooper: “I do think there is a tendency to buy into this myth that the AI is going to take over, or be this thing that replaces, or be this thing that’s this entity that’s out of our control. And I think, in some ways, that’s sort of a false narrative.”
Watch the full discussion above.