Years & Years // An Artificial Experience Music Motion Picture
Years & Years
An Artificial Experience Music Motion Picture by Brian Harrison
If you are someone who keeps up to date on the latest technologies sweeping the planet or if you are a Sci-Fi fan, then you may have heard of Artificial Intelligence or “A.I”. In recent years, A.I. systems have begun to come of age - finding practical applications in science, business and beyond. These systems often use something called Artificial Neural Networks – real machine learning inspired by the human brain.
Artificial Neural Networks are, just like the brain, based on interconnected 'neurons'. Given lots of data, they can learn underlying patterns, create a model of the world and predict the next steps. These types of intelligent systems are transforming human processes and perceptions in profound ways and we are on the verge of a genuine human-machine collaboration.
While Artificial Intelligence gets the headlines, what you probably have not heard of is the newest application of machine learning: “Creative Artificial Intelligence” that can actually generate art and design. These systems turn Artificial Neural Networks on their head, using them to paint, dream, hallucinate, design and complete other creative tasks.
Enter the Artificial Experience (“AE”) (artificialexperience.com) team, a new team and network, founded by Roelof Pieters and Samim Winiger.The AE team were among the first in the world to actually apply these emerging Creative A.I. technologies at scale. Specifically, the AE team states that their mission is to “extending human imagination with Creative A.I.” and bringing together leading A.I. researchers with designers and artists. A new paradigm where creative machines and humans interact as equals.
Enter writer and filmmaker Brian Harrison, whose work generally centers around ideas of human consciousness, perception and information. When he approached the AE team about applying this cutting edge technology to a new music motion picture he was directing for the Interscope Records’ recording artist Years & Years, an international collaboration became the starting point for a new and exciting Artificial Experience exploration – a first of its kind. For this challenge, the team decided to use “DeepDream” and decided to see how far they can push the technology forward.
For those not familiar, “DeepDream” is an open source, artificial neural network system based on a research paper published by Google in July 2015. You know, all those strangely psychedelic photographs being posted around Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! DeepDream´s underlying technology was originally designed for image recognition tasks to be used for such things as advanced face recognition software. These networks are trained on millions of images and learn to recognize 1000+ categories of objects. It knows how an apple or a dog looks etc. The fundamental innovation of DeepDream was to turn such an image recognition network on its head. In other words, it allows us to ask the network to “dream” about what it previously learned. The results have been stunning images, the likes of which were completely unexpected and new in the world of A.I.
For this film project though, the filmmaking and AE teams had to invent new technologies and processes to manage the daunting task of scaling up what had been, up and until this point, only research lab technology, and apply it to real-world production under time constraints. The collaboration took the initial idea of A.I. “dreaming” and pushed its boundaries to the outer limits. Among its innovations, the AE team applied novel techniques with names like “Single Unite Dreaming” and “Guided Dreaming”. In other words, a computer dreams and the humans interact with the machines to guide to their dreams. Through this innovative collaboration, the AE team also developed the world’s first Creative A.I. visual editing software - the DeepUI (available opensource soon) - a step towards true artistic human-machine interactions.
Creative Artificial Intelligences are enabling radical new aesthetics, processes and narratives and are connecting researchers & engineers with designers, filmmakers and artists. There is no turning back now, man and machine share a consciousness and both want to make ART!
Writer + Director + Editor: Brian Harrison
Cinematographer: Brian Charles Lehrer
Producer: Crysopia Pictures + Brian Harrison + Brian Charles Lehrer + Alex Bergman + Michelle An + Sohanny Rose
Creative AI Engineers: Samim Winiger + Roelof Pieters for Artificial Experience
Additional VFX: Coyote Post + Timbre & Post
1st AC: Chuy Valadez
2nd AC: Jordan McNeile
Key PA: Andrew Rieger
DEDICATED TO TERENCE MCKENNA, RALPH ABRAHAM AND RUPERT SHELDRAKE.
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