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IBM’s Watson can already do most things better than you. It plays fantasy football, helps prepare perfect meals, and delivers personalized health advice. Now the supercomputer has been used to cut the most spine-tingling movie trailer of the year.
Morgan is a sci-fi thriller that deals with a humanoid robot whose powers quickly succeed those of the scientists who created it. It’s fitting, then, that 20th Century Fox tapped IBM Research for the task of cutting the film’s trailer.
“We thought, ‘Let’s send Watson to film school,” recounts John Smith, a fellow in IBM Research’s machine vision division.
Watson analyzed over 100 horror movie trailers, breaking them down into separate moments. It then did the same with Morgan, identifying 10 pivotal scenes that will grab viewers.
“Watson was able to model the scenes visually to determine: Was a scene scary, was it a tender moment, was there sadness or happiness?” Smith notes.
A typical trailer can take up to a month to complete. Watson turned around six minutes of footage in less than 24 hours. Like most computer-learning processes, there’s still a human element involved. Zen Cota, a filmmaker with IBM Research, was responsible for artfully editing and arranging the final trailer—and it’s incredibly eerie.
Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.