Although when talking about robots, we imagine smart arms working at full speed in factories, disinfecting transports or automatically answering the phone, there are already automatons journalists reading news, machines that perform magic tricks thanks to AI.
Now, the AI robot Erica will be added to the long list of intelligent beings made of chips and sensors instead of skin and organs, who will be the first robot lead actress in Life Productions’ $70 million picture. According to Hollywood Reporter, science-fiction movie ‘b’ will be the first to rely on an artificially intelligent actor.
Erica was created by Japanese scientists, Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, who designed it to play a role in this film. Movie b is about the journey of an AI woman named Erica, who runs away from the lab. The scientist who created it finds a way to replicate human DNA perfectly. But he discovers dangers associated with a program he created and helps the AI woman escape from the lab before it is destroyed by other parties.
Although the premise of the story unfolded to date is quite common and is widely found in other films, the original AI character who really took the role in this film makes b as the first film to do this. From the start, Erica was designed and programmed to play this role, with an actress’s skill set. In the making, after being programmed, the creators had to train Erica to learn acting and display emotions like humans.
“In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role,” the film’s visual effects supervisor and producer Sam Khoze, explained to Hollywood Reporter. “But Erica has no life experiences. She was created from scratch to play the role. We had to simulate her motions and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of her movements, talking through her feelings, and coaching character development and body language.“
Erica was initially going to debut on a different project with director Tony Kaye, known for films like American History X, but the producers split with Kaye due to schedule conflicts. Although there is no substitute director, the scientists and other creators in this film have already filmed some scenes with Erica in Japan in 2019.
The rest of the film will be shot in Europe in June 2021 because the film industry is currently stalling due to the COVID-19 translation. Will Erica be able to take it away from any prize for her successful performance?