Joe Russo Claims AI-Generated 90-Minute Movies Will Be 'Very Competent' Within Two Years

Russo suggested your TV will be able to make a convincing romantic comedy about you and Marilyn Monroe.


Joe Russo is one half of the Russo brothers, best known as the directors of four Marvel movies, including Avengers: Endgame. Considering how incredibly CGI-heavy those films are, it's only natural that Russo would be concerned with all sorts of technological advancements that might make his life as a filmmaker easier. In a Q&A at the Sands International Film Festival in Scotland, Russo and Epic Games chief creative officer Donald Mustard mused about the potential ways that artificial intelligence might aid filmmakers--or just take over filmmaking duties itself.

"We've had conversations about how it can be used," Russo said, implying that he and Mustard were more likely speculating than describing any specific concrete plans they are currently trying to implement.

"Potentially, what you could do with it is obviously use it to engineer storytelling and change storytelling. So you have a constantly evolving story, either in a game or in a movie, or a TV show," Russo went on.

"You could walk into your house and save the AI on your streaming platform. 'Hey, I want a movie starring my photoreal avatar and Marilyn Monroe's photoreal avatar. I want it to be a rom-com because I've had a rough day,' and it renders a very competent story with dialogue that mimics your voice. It mimics your voice, and suddenly now you have a rom-com starring you that's 90 minutes long. So you can curate your story specifically to you."

Likewise, Mustard described using AI to insert yourself into an exisitng film, with Russo joking that you could order your TV to "make me Doctor Strange" and it would convincingly overlay you (and presumably your entire body) over Benedict Cumberbatch in a Marvel movie.

"It’ll just be able to conk you in and swap it out in real-time, and just do it all right there," Mustard said. "And so, I don't know the timeline, but I don't think it's super far away."

The interviewer then asked when Russo and Mustard think that AI will be able to generate a movie that people don't realize was generated by AI.

"Two years?" Russo replied, prompting Mustard.

"Less," Mustard said, before throwing some significant caveats into the discussion. Mainly, he pointed out that there's actually very little chance that AI could generate anything good from a prompt like Russo's example about a Marilyn Monroe rom-com.

"I think it'll, for a while at least, require strong curation, right?" Mustard said, referring to the need to issue hyper-specific instructions to an AI like Midjourney to generate a truly convincing image.

"I saw a video the other week where they just kind of shot themselves against a green screen, but then ran all these AI scripts on top of it and it turned it into this amazing… it looked like the coolest anime you've ever seen," Mustard went on. "It was an AI overlay, but it was just thousands and thousands of prompts, and then going and creating all this crazy stuff over months to kind of figure out this thing."

Mustard said he believes it's going to take that kind of effort to get meaningful content from AI "for a long time."

In other words, don't expect a computer in the director's chair any time soon. Which might come as a relief to some when they consider some of the greater implications of being able to get your TV to generate a customized movie about a man hooking up with any woman he chooses.

Phil Owen on Google+

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