Watch a Sci-Fi Film Written by Artificial Intelligence

Hollywood blockbusters are often criticized for being formulaic, but this year's summer hits have nothing on Sunspring, a sci-fi film entirely devoted to formula. The short movie, which made its online debut on Ars Technica yesterday, was written by artificial intelligence trained on science fiction screenplays—everything from Blade Runner (1982) to Cowboys & Aliens (2011).

Filmmaker Oscar Sharp and machine learning researcher Ross Goodwin created the LSTM (long short-term memory) neural network named Benjamin (its own choice) over the course of a year. Once the network was up and running, Benjamin wrote the script based on just a few prompts, including one line of dialogue and an idea for a future where mass unemployment leads young people to sell their own blood.

Benjamin spit out a sometimes incomprehensible script, and Sharp, Goodwin, and a group of actors went about turning into an actual film.

Click to enlarge

The actors, including Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch, deadpan their way through lines like, “The way you were sent to me, that was a big honest idea.” Some of the weirder stage directions included "He is standing in the stars and sitting on the floor." At one point early in the film, Middleditch gags, then spits out an eyeball, immediately moving on with no explanation. (The lyrics of the song playing in the background were also written by the computer, though humans penned the music.)

The effect is kind of like a futuristic, super-nonsensical Shakespeare play. If anything, the film shows that a movie can get surprisingly far relying entirely on body language, tone of voice, and a little mood music.

Benjamin’s creators have since turned the program to churning out feature film ideas, so watch out for a machine-learning movie to hit theaters in the future.

[h/t Ars Technica]

All images via YouTube.

Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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