Deep Learning with Star Trek: Part 1

5 minute read

I’ve been thinking lately, that sooner or later it’ll be possible to create TV episodes with deep learning. Just look at the tech we already have:

  • GPT-3 - text generation that is getting on for human-level quality
  • Deepfake - mapping one actor’s face onto footage from a different actor
  • Real Time Voice Cloning - does what it says on the tin

Today, many of the above technologies are still in their infancy, and I’m not confident we could re-create an episode of say, Star Trek, that would fool anybody. But we can create a janky knock-off just for the hell of it. Think of it as like B-4, the less bright younger brother of Lieutenant Commander Data.

via GIPHY

Now, if we’re creating a TV show, the first thing we need is a script. I used script buddy v2, a film script text generation tool. It was a pain in the ass to get it up and running (I’m looking at you pip install torch and your not being able to find a version on Pypi that clearly exists) but I got there in the end. It’s even got a pretty graphical interface:

I haven’t yet fine-tuned it for Star Trek (that’ll be for a future post), but here’s what I got when I used “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!” as the starting point:

Star Trek: The Ruth of Kahn (Yeah, that’s the title I’m giving it)

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

(MORE)

EXT. SPACE (MATRIX) - DAY

The Enterprise is being launched out of the planet’s atmosphere in a massive solar flare. It reaches the vast emptiness of space. It’s mission is complete: to boldly go where no man has gone before.

SIGNS. THE ENTIRE PLANETARY IS NOW A GLASS.

SIGNS. The ship RISES INTO SPACE!

A huge cloud of dust streaks by them, blocking their view. As the ship rises in space, their view is blocked by clouds of dust. The entire planet is now a shiny, glassy mirror of the stars.

And now they begin to make their way to the surface. The clouds now obscure the view of the ship.

JUMP CUT TO:

THE DUST has cleared. A small, primitive human city is visible. The two of them are in the center. On the roof of the building.

JUMP CUT TO:

TIGHT SHOT of the rooftop, as they approach a very long-legged woman in her late 20’s. The two of them walk up to her, and talk for a moment.

TIGHT SHOT. The woman turns her head and smiles, and a smile spreads across her face.

JUMP CUT TO:

INT. DANCE STUDIO - NIGHT

CLOSE SHOT on RUTH, a young girl from the audience, a perfect version of RUTH. She’s singing in a low-rent country style. She makes her way up the stage towards the audience.

And as the last bars die down, she starts to sing again. And again. And again. And again. And then we FLASHBACK ON them as she stops. and looks down at her hands, as if looking at a mirror.

FLASHBACK ON RUTH as she is getting up and talking to the crowd. And finally looking at her hands. And the next bars, and the next, and the next and the next.

TIGHT SHOT. RUTH is getting more and more excited about the music and the act. She gets up and starts to sing again, which is then interrupted by:

THE ENTIRE PAST - DAY

EXT. JUPITER TWO - DAY

We see the Enterprise through the sun. RUTH is walking along the beach towards the ship. We see the ship and see her smile. She looks right at the crowd. There’s a very large number of people there, including a very young HONEY.

And now they’re on the ship. She stops, to get closer to her ship. There’s a lot of activity up front, as they take their seats and the audience get’s the chance to lick their lips and dance. The music is still high.

And now we FLASHBACK, as she notices a man sitting alone on one of the decks. She walks over and sits down beside him. He looks very bored.

And now they start to dance. She’s a very good dancer. RUTH is smiling a lot, and she does a lot of hip moves. Her audience is very supportive, giving her credit for having a good time. This is a big moment for the audience.

Finally she hits the end of her swing.

FLASHBACK:

RUTH is dancing very close to the door where the audience was waiting. As she pulls up her seat belt, she sees:

HONEY

She sees that she’s going to be there for the whole time, and there’s a very large number of people waiting to see her.

HONEY Hi. I’m looking forward to being here all day.

FLASHBACK:

The audience is completely silent, they’re just watching her dance. There’s a lot of noise from the people who have tickets. It’s quite a sight.

FLASHBACK:

And HONEY looks up at the entrance. It’s filled with people from the audience, many of whom are dressed very different. And they start to cheer for her.

HONEY Oh my God. Thanks.

(MORE)

EXT. JUPITER TWO - DAY

She goes to the door.

JUPITER TWO - DAY

A beautiful view of the ocean.

FLASHBACK:

CUT TO:

A very large view of the ocean.

FL

Thoughts

I mean it’s not great, and it’s not Star Trek, yet but it’s not completely bad:

The Good

via GIPHY

  • It clearly picked up on the space angle with its mentions of Jupiter
  • I dig the cinematic opening with the solar flare and planet turning to glass

The Ridiculous

via GIPHY

  • The Enterprise completed Starfleet’s mission pretty damn early, right in the first few lines it’s already boldly gone and done it
  • A dance studio? I guess it could be in a holodeck??
  • It’s very fourth wall breaking, really using the audience as characters
  • And all this focus on Ruth! She’s clearly the heroine, using her low-rent country-style singing to explore the universe