Source - As the industry grapples with how to reopen for production safely, one movie is proceeding with a lead actress who is immune to COVID-19 — because she’s a robot named Erica.
Bondit Capital Media [has] committed to back b, a $70 million science fiction film which producers say will be the first to rely on an artificially intelligent actor. ...
b follows a scientist who discovers dangers associated with a program he created to perfect human DNA and helps the artificially intelligent woman he designed (Erica) escape.
Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, who created Erica in real life as part of their study of robotics, also taught her to act, applying the principles of method acting to artificial intelligence, according to Khoze.
“In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role,” Khoze says. “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.”
Ordinarily, it's a reason to be concerned any time a person loses their job to a machine. I know personally I feel guilty any time I use the self-checkout in a store, because that's an unskilled worker's job being taken away. I can justify in my own conscience by reminding myself that it requires more workers to build and maintain the machines. And also that I like to avoid all forms of human interaction any chance I get. But those things don't make it right.
This though, I have no problem with. If show business can get robots to play robot parts, then I don't see the downside. As a matter of fact, the entertainment industry brought this on themselves. Remember when Bryan Cranston was getting able-body-shamed for playing a wheelchair-bound guy in a movie? Because, while he's a great actor and a popular, bankable star, was accused of taking a role that should've gone to one of those big box office quadriplegic actors Hollywood is known for.
And yesterday Jenny Slate announced she's quitting the animated show she's on where she's been voicing a biracial kid because she is not herself biracial:
So who's been portraying the robot characters all these years? Humans. Anthony Daniels as C3PO. Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Ian Holm, Lance Henriksen and Michael Fassbender in the "Alien" films. Robin Williams as Bicentennial Man. Haley Joel Osment in "A.I." All robots have either been humans in costumes or CGI characters voiced by humans. In fact, in order to find one who wasn't, you have to go all the way back to Paulie's sex robot in "Rocky IV."
Who, for all I know, was operated inside by a person the way R2D2 is.
But no longer. Finally cyber actors are going to get the equality that's been denied to them all these years, thanks to the good work of Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa. Granted, this is a risk. I just naturally assume once they teach artificial people to mimic human motions and emotions, we're signing our own death warrants. That it's only a matter of time before they're building replicants of us like in "Blade Runner" and taking our places without us even knowing about it until it's too late. But that's the price of progress.
This will mean more than just robot actors getting the roles they deserve. It'll mean fewer emotionally fragile stars going full Lohan on us. Fewer freakouts and diva behavior on movie sets. The Harvey Weinsteins of the world will have fewer aspiring starlets to sexually victimize. No more stunt men getting maimed or killed. They'll be able to work longer hours for no pay and will sit through a million shitty promotional interviews and meet-and-greets with weirdos at ComicCons. It's a win for everybody.
Just don't program any of them to write blogs, please and thank you.