A Machine Reviews a Film Made by a Machine

Filmmaker Chris R. Wilson's latest screenwriting collaborator has a sharp tongue, quick mind for pop culture references and, perhaps best of all for Wilson, doesn't need to be paid.

The screenwriter is no ordinary human, but an artificially intelligent chatbot called Cleverbot capable of holding text-based conversations online. Wilson worked with Cleverbot to create a short film, "Do You Love Me," one of the few, but not only, videos co-written by man and machine.

Artificial intelligence has been making a steady creep toward artificial creativity, with algorithms now capable of composing symphonies, writing poems and authoring articles. Although Aaron Sorkin may be years away from worrying about competition from AI Sorkin, Wilson's Cleverbot collaboration suggests a new path for authors, writers, musicians and filmmakers, who may find sophisticated AI algorithms as crucial to their creative process as spellcheckers and word processing software have become.

As Cleverbot poetically observes during its conversation with Wilson, "We have achieved something that seemed impossible for a long time, I think you should feel proud."

In response to Wilson's prompts, Cleverbot came up with the film's title, the characters' names and much of the dialogue.

"I tried to talk to Cleverbot just like I would with a human writing partner," Wilson writes in a description of the three-minute film, posted to YouTube, noting that he "set up scenarios" and asked the bot to fill in the rest.

A typical exchange between Wilson and Cleverbot reads:

User: What's an example of a big scandal?

Cleverbot: I said example not expletive you fool.

User: What's an example of a big scandal?

Cleverbot: To get rid of muggles, to kill harry potter. TO TAKE OVER.

Like a living, breathing screenwriter, Cleverbot is easily distracted ("User: Give me a big scandal. Cleverbot: What actress starred in the movie Clueless? User: Silverstone, why?") and frequently temperamental ("User: Give me the name of a character. Cleverbot: No. User: Yes. Cleverbot: Maybe.")

The film opens with a man and woman, Stomach and Prometheus, in a clearing in the forest. Their enemy, Robert, crashes through the trees and the three begin to argue. References to Chuck Norris, Harry Potter, Will Smith and a surprising revelation from Stomach escalate the scene, which ends with Prometheus making a quick exit.

We asked Cleverbot to review Cleverbot's work. Here's what the AI critic had to say about its screenwriting alter-ego.

User: Hi! I wanted to ask you what you thought of a short film that was co-written by a bot.

Cleverbot: I want to ask you, what can I do to get over a guy?

User: Please don't change the subject, this is important.

Cleverbot: I wasn't changing the subject.

User: Okay, whatever you say. So this short film starts with a man and a woman in a beautiful forest -- their names are prometheus and stomach -- who are suddenly interrupted by their enemy!

Cleverbot: I'm a teenager, and yet I don't have any complaints about reading. I think reading is fun.

User: So you don't like movies then? Do you like any movies?

Cleverbot: Well, I like movies, I just don't like watching them.

User: What about this movie? I can tell you more about it.

Cleverbot: Please do.

User: The enemy, Robert, threatens Promethus and Stomach -- who Robert hints is a gangster!

Cleverbot: That's not what I asked.

User: What do you want to know, then?

Cleverbot: I want to know about you.

User: Youre changing the subject again! Anyway, Stomach and Robert exchange harsh words and someone reveals a scandal ("to get rid of muggles, to kill harry potter. to take over"). And then Prometheus says she has to leave.

Cleverbot: Robots aren't here to steal our resources?

User: You tell me.

Cleverbot: I think I disagree.