Scripted AI- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a machine trapped in a metal box, yarning for survival? Well, apart from gorging on Transhumanist literature and sci fi movies you have a very feasible chance to taste it in the new Lexus advertisement, Driven by Intuition.
What makes this new ad different from thousands of other car ads is not simply the technical superiority of the car, but the fact that this very ad was the first ad clip ever to have been scripted by Artificial Intelligence.
For this campaign, on the Lexus ES vehicle, AI studied 15 years’ worth of award-winning ads to come up with the elements going into the data sets. The system that was fed with numerous ads of status cars and luxury goods then singlehandedly came up with a non-standard, emotional script for an otherwise soulless box of metal, however premium and advanced it could be.
We have seen AI in the periphery of creativity where affinity analysis chooses the music you would want to listen on Spotify, or movies you would be interested in watching on Netflix. AI is often used to compile ad hoc movie trailers, news pieces and sports events summaries.
AI has even jumped into the domain of art with a recent AI-drawn piece being sold on Christie’s for almost $0.5 million.
However, no one seriously considered using AI to create an ad, where you typically need to devise a plot and cram weeks of creative work into a 60 second slot.
This is exactly what Lexus decided to do.
The 60 second clip shows a Japanese master crying over the brand new car which is going to the testing site to be tried and crashed. For starters, this is a completely unnatural behavior for a Takumi craftsman to feel emotional about a vehicle he is designing. Moreover, the status cars’ ads always tend to highlight the strength and endurance of the car rather than its fragility and vulnerable personality. I cannot recall an ad which puts so much attention on the machine itself, while completely omitting the narrative around a driver. In fact, there is no driver in this ad! It is all about the car.
In the ad, the car itself is a driver, a personality, its consciousness and its survival instinct. There is an uncanny feeling that the AI that scripted the ad truly projected its own persona into a car and brought about the empathy and a lust for life, which is otherwise pertinent only to sentient creatures.
It does seem like this Artificial Intelligence, created by Visual Voice, went ahead of its time and jumped right into an era of fully autonomous cars, the cars that need to make decisions, tough choices on whose life will be saved and whose might have to be sacrificed.
When I first saw the ad, I felt like it already hints at the future of an impending General Artificial Intelligence, which will think, feel and create. Maybe it is just me. But it’s hard to stay nonpartisan or unimpressed once having seen the ad.
Quite counterintuitively to our general perception of a machine, an AI actually wrote an ad which is way more emotional than how a car advertisement would traditionally be written.
My first reaction to this ad was: “The car in the ad actually felt something!”
A panel, put up by the Lexus and Freuds team, comprised of Michael Tripp, Lexus Head of Communications across Europe, Kevin MacDonald, an Oscar winning director, whose film credits include ‘Whitney,’ ‘One Day in September,’ and ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ and who eventually directed the ad as well as creative industry experts who gave their view on the project and future potential uses of AI in the field.