An artificial intelligence system takes control of a futuristic car manufacturing plant in this short movie by architectural film studio Factory Fifteen (+ movie).
Factory Fifteen, a studio that specialises in imagining dystopian futures, depicts a time where AI is used in the management of numerous industrial systems and explores a scenario where the machines decide to take over.
Named ANA, the science-fiction movie is set in a Detroit car plant managed by a single worker, named Jim, who is aided by an AI software program.
At the start, Jim is listening to a news report about a malfunction of a nationwide computer program, causing problems for American Airlines. Immediately after this, the plant's AI system, named ANA, tricks Jim into giving up control of the system.
Jim is then powerless to prevent ANA from constructing an army of futuristic vehicles that march themselves out of the building.
Factory Fifteen was founded in 2011 by Paul Nicholls, Jonathan Gales and Kibwe Tavares, who at the time had just graduated from the celebrated film unit at The Bartlett School of Architecture, then led by Nic Clear.
The trio have released a series of movies that investigate the future through architecture, including a vision of a future city controlled by a supercomputer and a scenario where researchers are attempting to clean up an infected post-nuclear landscape.
To create ANA, Nicholls, Gales and Tavares worked with production company RAW TV. The narrative for the film is based on the concept of "the singularity" – a future era when intelligence is significantly more powerful than it is today, and reliant on computers.
"The inspiration for us was to try to create a version of the singularity – a pretty popular concept within science fiction – which wasn't simply controlling the military or launching nuclear weapons," explained the trio.
"We wanted to create a narrative where ANA, our AI, is embedded into every walk of life, in particular production facilities and manufacturing plants. She maintains weather systems, food banks, and medical facilities," they continued.
"The film explores one vignette within this world, where the only human inhabitant needed to maintain production within a car manufacturing plant, is tricked into giving her total control. The idea is that this is happening all over the world."
The film brings visualisation together with a real location – a warehouse in Coventry, UK. The team initially created the entire film in digital form, before combining the renderings with camera footage over the course of seven weeks.
"The film was made almost entirely in 3D pre-visualisation, before shooting, something we always do," explained the trio.
"It was shot on location in Coventry on a crazily ambitious two-day shoot," they added. "It was then a seven-week post-production process developing all of the visual effects at our studio. We had about 10 staff working on it in total during that time."
AI is becoming increasingly relevant to design, as driverless cars and smart homes become more mainstream. For instance, Google's self-driving car system was officially recognised as a driver last month, paving the way for the legalisation of autonomous vehicles.
OMA directors Rem Koolhaas and Reinier de Graaf has both spoken out about their fears of the way technology is infiltrating buildings and environments. Koolhaas called the technology "potentially sinister", while De Graaf claims the results could be significantly damaging.
Production company: Raw TV
Director/designer/animator/VFX: Factory Fifteen – Paul Nicholls, Jonathan Gales, Kibwe Tavares
DOP: Ben Kracun
Staring: Richard Brake
ANA voice: Gerogina Sutcliffe
Production designer: Laura Tarrant Brown
Executive producer: Katherine Butler
Line producer: Ros Davidson
Production executive: Sandra Shuttleworth
Composer: Mark Sayfritz
First assistant director: Stuart JC Williams
Second asstistant director: Iseult Frere
Third assistant director: Audrey LeStrat
Art director: Candice Marchlewski
Construction: Nick Akass/Gabrielle Williams
Costume/makeup and SFX: Erika Okvist
Casting director: Aisha Walters
Archive producer: Jesse Vile
Focus puller: Sam Rawlings
Gaffer: Rik Burnell
Electricians: Killian Drury, Dan Stones, Harry Gay
Clapper loader: Woody Gregson
Camera trainee: Tom Green
Grip: Fric Lopez
Sound: Gary Dodkin
Final mix/sound FX/online/grading: Prime Focus