Erica is the first artificial intelligence robot to have a lead role in a science-fiction film. (Image Credit: Life Productions)


Robots will more than likely take over many jobs sometime in the future, but these roles are suited to automation. Now, for the first time ever, an AI robot named Erica will have a lead acting role in the new $70 million science-fiction film titled "b," which is in production by Life Productions.


The science-fiction picture is based on a story that follows a scientist who is tasked with creating the perfect human DNA through Erica, the program he created. Due to dangers associated with the program, Erica is forced to escape from the lab with the scientist’s help. Erica’s acting skills came from the creators, Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, who applied the principles of method acting to AI and developed Erica in real-life to study human-computer interactions.


“In other methods of acting, actors involve their own life experiences in the role,” said Sam Khoze, the film’s special effects supervisor. “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 originally meant to make her first debut in a different film set to be directed by American History X’s Tony Kaye, but the scheduling interfered with the project, so the producers parted with Kaye. Even though this film does not have a director or human co-stars attached yet, producers still filmed some of Erica’s scenes in Japan in 2019. They expect to shoot the rest of the film in Europe in June 2021.


Between AI actors and de-aging/stand in technology, outsourcing acting work is poised to be a huge issue. Makes sense. Like Hatsune Miku, the age of never aging virtual idols is almost here.


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