Can you imagine that it was possible to stand in front of a movie and interact with it, making it change course in real time and according to the emotions that the viewer feels while watching it? Well, this is no longer a possibility: “The artificial intelligence (AI) that we have developed achieves it. If the system detects that you are not laughing in a film that is supposed to be funny, it will analyze your social networks and other data to make you laugh and the film will automatically change its narrative direction," says Carlos Fernández de Vigo, the director of Emotional. Films –which has developed this AI– and CEO of the Navarrese animation film and video game studios Dr. Platypus
It is in this technological disruption where the project director has seen a market and innovation niche in which, after five years of work and with the collaboration of more than 40 researchers, films have been developed that adapt in real time to the viewer emotions: “Through a complex system made up of ten interconnected AI models, we managed to generate and adapt the film. The adaptation that our AI is capable of reaches the point where the content is never repeated, even if the same viewer sees the same film a hundred thousand times”, affirms Fernández de Vigo.
Mikel Galar, technical director and head of Emotional Films at the Public University of Navarra (UPNA), explains that these AI models are trained with "images of people, faces, expressing different emotions and, in order to be able to detect emotions, thereby producing a bias-free database. In this way, the AI model is effective with anyone who uses it.”
Galar stresses that these databases tend to be irregular: "Normally there is more representation of certain races, ages, genders, of certain stereotypes... So there are people with whom the AI does not work well because the database is not representative of the features of the viewer. For this reason, he assures that, to train their AI models, they have "devoted a lot of time and effort to creating a database that was as free of biases as possible, both representational and stereotypical."
In addition, Galar points out that in order to fully enjoy the Emotional Films experience, the viewer has to collaborate with technology: "For this to be possible we must have access to different parameters, the one that impresses the most is the viewer's emotions but Besides, we use others; the location from which the film is being viewed, the age or gender expression of the person in front of the screen, the social context of the viewer and everything that surrounds him, the day and the time of year in which it is, the weather, and even if it is day or night…”.
Galar ensures that access to all these parameters makes possible a transparent interaction with the film that the viewer will be little aware of, but that will profoundly influence the artistic aspects of it. In this sense, and as Fernández de Vigo states, "watching a romantic movie on February 1 is not the same as watching it on February 14, and it is not the same watching the movie alone than doing it in company." The AI will take all these details into account and use them to instantly modify the movie to create as personalized an experience as possible.
On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the films are personalized within a context and some decisions that the scriptwriters have previously established. They will not have to write the dialogues for the scripts, but –as the project director explains– they will have to limit themselves to defining the characteristics of the characters and the AI will do the rest: “Your job will consist of creating the character itself; create it with specific experiences, with a particular cultural and emotional context, with its own temperament… From there the character will develop his dialogues and his actions throughout the film and taking into account the different parameters of the viewer”.
Scriptwriters, like directors and producers, "are going to have to adapt to the changes that AI is introducing in their discipline," says Carlos Fernández de Vigo. Although the director, who declares himself a "film fanatic", maintains that the Emotional Films technology is not intended to replace it, but rather, "it is another way of approaching artistic creation, a way of generating a connection more intimate with the viewer.