Every Story Starts Here

The past week at the NAB Show was sensory overload in all things tech and development. My focus was on ways emerging technology was shaping immersive storytelling. With that in mind, I saw some innovative equipment, impressive editing systems, and promising content curation platforms. But the most exciting learning came from the lively discussions during the sessions.

The most thought-provoking session for me was the AI & Immersive Entertainment discussion moderated by HP Global Head of VR, Joanna Popper..


One fascinating top arose around the integration of Virtual Beings and Digital Humans; two terms that are interchangeable these days. For instance, what would Alexa look like as a Virtual Being? How Would Google Home appear as a Digital Human? Where would our own bias come to play when creating these Virtual Beings? Do people want a Virtual Being that mimics our ethnicity and culture or would they want something entirely different? Researches are working to answer these and many more question just like them.

Where does AI fit into this new landscape? What would happen if there are hundreds of Virtual Begins interacting with you in the real world driven by AI in the physical world? Some people might find this new tech frightening; others will seize the opportunity to be a part of this exciting time.

As a storyteller, I want to know where writers and producers fit in? Where does AI fit in when programming a TV show, web series or film? Can AI speed up the narrative or will it complicate things? According to Armando Kirwin, Co-founder of Artie, a technology company dedicated to enabling a new form of computer interaction powered by hyper-engaging AI characters, a computer can generate a story. AI can enhance speech. But, a human has to come through and curate the content.He tweeted,

“Immersive characters will outnumber humans 100x in the near future. Your physical reality will be filled with AI holograms, living toys, virtual teachers, proxies, and familiars. Every fictional character you ever loved will be walking around IRL with you.”

Where does that leave the content creators?

During the session, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, a Producer at Butcher Bird Studios, shared, “The only thing you can do as a writer is tell a story that’s interesting to you.” But Diaz-Przybyl was optimistic about the future adding,

“There is an opportunity for more voices to be heard. AI won’t be truly generative, but it will allow for more diverse to be told.”

Kane Lee of Baobab Studios shared interesting data around VR and character development in immersive storytelling. Do the characters have to look believable or can they be more abstract?

“VR in animation has less to do with how the characters look and more with how the characters interact with you,” said Lee.

In other words, the characters don’t have to look human; they have to play on your human emotions and act in a way that is immersive, inclusive and interesting. This concept is an interesting note for writers and producers in this new tech..

As a producer, AI and VR offer many new and exciting opportunities for storytelling. I’m not sure where all of this will lead me, but I’m excited about the journey. How are you or your company using or planning to use AI and VR to tell your story?