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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Can a Computer Do My Job? Day 4: Character, Starting With Believe

Alright, let’s give OpenAI more chances to use my Checklist to answer questions about six movies I chose, and also movies of its own choosing. Today we move on to the Character section of the Ultimate Story Checklist, starting with…

Believe: Do We Recognize the Hero as a Human Being

Click on the questions to see how 30 previous movies answered them…

Does the hero have a moment of humanity early on? (A funny, or kind, or oddball, or out-of-character, or comically vain, or unique-but-universal “I thought I was the only one who did that!” moment?)

This time when I gave it no prompt it just analyzed the data I’d given it:
  • The answer is yes for most of these films, with a few exceptions. The hero of "The Bourne Identity" doesn't really have any moments of humanity early on, but he does become more sympathetic as the story progresses. "Chinatown" is another example of a film where the hero doesn't have any real moments of humanity early on, but he does become more resourceful as the story goes on.
And it does a good job. Always good to get confirmation that it’s reading and thinking about what I’m feeding it.
  • Back to the Future: Yes, the hero has a moment of humanity early on. He's funny when he's trying to figure out how to work the time machine, and he's kind when he helps Marty's mom remember her high school days.
I guess kind of?
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: The hero doesn't really have any moments of humanity early on. He's mostly just a blank slate for the audience to projection their own ideas onto.
Sure, good answer. Rare grammar problem there.
  • CODA: YES. The hero has a moment of humanity early on when she is trying to find her way back to her family. She is lost and confused, and she stumbles upon a kind stranger who helps her find her way.
Did you watch the movie?
  • Harold and Maude: YES. The hero has a moment of humanity early on when he is trying to find a way to kill himself. He is lost and confused, and he stumbles upon a kind stranger (Maude) who helps him find his way.
Repeat answer, but it fits this one better!
  • Under the Skin: NO. The hero does not have a moment of humanity early on. She is a creature who is learning about humans, and she does not show any signs of humanity until she begins to feel empathy for her human prey.
Excellent answer!
  • Roger and Me: YES. The hero has a moment of humanity early on when he is trying to find a way to save his job. He is lost and confused, and he stumbles upon a kind stranger (Roger) who helps him find his way.
No! Roger Smith is not a kind stranger! Again, if I was writing this as a fictional movie, I would make Mike an out-of-work auto worker, not an alt-weekly journalist, so the AI is trying to fix it.

Is the hero defined by ongoing actions and attitudes, not by backstory?

Without a prompt, it just said:
  • YES.
And sure, I guess.
  • Back to the Future: YES. The only reason we know anything about his parents is because he tells us. We never see anything about his past, only his current actions.
Trying to give me back the kind of answers I gave it, but this is totally wrong.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: YES.
  • CODA: YES.
  • Harold and Maude: YES.
  • Under the Skin: YES.
  • Roger and Me: YES.
Then it just gets lazy.

Does the hero have a well-defined public identity?
  • Thelma and Louise: YES. The loyal friend.
  • Back to the Future: YES. The high school nerd.
Well, not really nerd.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: YES. The curious ape-man.
Oh, so he’s the hero now?
  • CODA: YES. The hearing daughter of deaf parents.
Finally got this right!
  • Harold and Maude: YES. The rich, morbid young man.
  • Under the Skin: YES. The mysterious woman.
Well, it’s not really a public identity. Nobody knows who she is.
  • Roger and Me: YES. The ambitious documentarian.
Otherwise, good answers.

Does the surface characterization ironically contrast with a hidden interior self?


When I just clicked submit, it showed me a large summary of all the information I submitted, so I’ll skip that.
  • Back to the Future: NO
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: NO
  • CODA: YES
  • Harold and Maude: YES
  • Under the Skin: YES
  • Roger and Me: NO
Other than that, lazy (though arguably correct) answers, which is odd, since I fed it more detailed models.

Does the hero have a consistent metaphor family (drawn from his or her job, background, or developmental state)?

  • Thelma and Louise: YES. Base their metaphors on their current situation: “I’m going to the bathroom. I may be a while.” “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
It’s trying, but I don’t think it really grasps the concept.
  • Back to the Future: Yes. Marty McFly's metaphors are all based on his current situation, which is being stuck in the 1950s. He talks about "jigawatts" and "time circuits" and "flux capacitors" as if they're all normal things, because to him, they are.
Again, it’s trying.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: No. The hero, Dave, doesn't really have a consistent metaphor family. He talks like a normal person most of the time, except when he's talking to the computer, HAL. Then he talks in a more stilted, formal way.
Good answer!
  • CODA: Yes. The hero, Bill, is a musician, so his metaphors are all based on music. He talks about "beats" and "rhythms" and "melodies" as if they're all normal things, because to him, they are.
Is there even anyone named Bill in this movie?
  • Harold and Maude: Yes. The hero, Harold, is a young man who is obsessed with death. He talks about "the Grim Reaper" and "the afterlife" as if they're all normal things, because to him, they are.
It’s really trying, but this isn’t the idea. To be fair, this is the hardest question to answer when I do these. I have to really scour the movies to find what the metaphor family is.
  • Under the Skin: No. The hero, Laura, doesn't really have a consistent metaphor family. She talks like a normal person most of the time, except when she's talking to the other aliens. Then she talks in a more stilted, formal way.
  • Roger and Me: No. The hero, Michael, doesn't really have a consistent metaphor family. He talks like a normal person most of the time, except when he's talking about his experiences with Roger Smith, the CEO of General Motors. Then he talks in a more stilted, formal way.
This question has flummoxed it.

Does the hero have a default personality trait?

Without a prompt, it gave a generic answer.
  • YES. The default personality trait for a hero is that they are down-to-earth, honest, and good-humored.
  • Back to the Future: NO. The hero of Back to the Future does not have a default personality trait.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: NO. The hero of 2001: A Space Odyssey does not have a default personality trait.
  • CODA: NO. The hero of CODA does not have a default personality trait.
  • Harold and Maude: NO. The hero of Harold and Maude does not have a default personality trait.
These are all wrong. These heroes have default personality traits.
  • Under the Skin: YES. The hero of Under the Skin has a default personality trait of being creepy and placid.
  • Roger and Me: YES. The hero of Roger and Me has a default personality trait of being down-to-earth and honest.
Sure, these are good answers. Even though it gets a lot wrong, I’m still amazed at the ones it gets right.

Does the hero have a default argument tactic?
  • No prompt: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • Back to the Future: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • CODA: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • Harold and Maude: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • Under the Skin: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
  • Roger and Me: The hero's default argument tactic is to be evasive and slippery, deflecting all conflict.
Oh come on, you’re not even trying! D-! See me after class!

Is the hero’s primary motivation for tackling this challenge strong, simple, and revealed early on?
  • No prompt: The answer is "yes" for most of these examples. The exception is "Chinatown," where the hero's motivation is not revealed until halfway through the movie.
  • Back to the Future: YES. He just wants to get home.
Sure
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: YES. He just wants to get home.
Not really. He wants to complete the mission.
  • CODA the movie: The answer is "yes" for most of these examples. The exception is "Chinatown," where the hero's motivation is not revealed until halfway through the movie.
  • Harold and Maude: NO. His motivation is not revealed until halfway through the movie.
Wrong.
  • Under the Skin: NO. The hero's motivation is not revealed until halfway through the movie.
Sure.
  • Roger and Me: YES. He just wants to save his job.
Nope.

The computer really struggled today!  Not feeling like my job is in a lot of danger.  Okay, we’ll take a break there and come back there to see its answers for “Care” questions.

1 comment:

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