Lights, Camera, Artificial Action: Start-Up Is Taking A.I. to the Movies
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Inside an old auto body shop here in Silicon Valley, Stefan Avalos pushed a movie camera down a dolly track.
He and a small crew were making a short film about self-driving cars. They were shooting a powder-blue 1962 Austin Mini, but through special effects the rusted relic would be transformed into an autonomous vehicle that looked more like the DeLorean from “Back to the Future.”
Stepping back from the camera, Mr. Avalos referred wryly to the movie he was filming as “Project Unemployment.” The film was a way of testing new technology from a start-up called Arraiy, which is trying to automate the creation of digital effects for movies, television and games.
This new type of artificial intelligence, which is also being developed by the software giant Adobe and in other technology industry research labs, could ultimately replace many of the specialists who build such effects.
“This is no joke; it will put people out of work,” said Mr. Avalos, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who also runs a visual effects house. “The artists are safe. But it will replace all the drudgery.”