Alexa is going to the movies. The Finnish folks at Valossa are leveraging the tech behind Amazon's voice assistant to answer your burning cinematic questions with their Val.ai initiative. As the company tells it, Val.ai can identify over a thousand qualities of a movie from any video stream automatically, including emotions, locations and specific objects. So, for example, asking "what movie has Gwyneth Paltrow head in a box?" will bring back David Fincher's Se7en. The company says that it was designed for content providers (think Netflix's upcoming second screen revamp) to "reach down into their video content, identify it and make it searchable in real-time."
Unlike SceneSkim which analyzes scripts and subtitles for comparatively simple dialogue or scene searches, Val.ai sifts through raw video.
There's a web-based version to try if you want to put Val.ai through the ringer. It isn't perfect though. "Ewan McGregor naked" doesn't return with a listing for Trainspotting and "John Candy with a beard" brings back Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bad Santa and the Robert Downey, Jr. vehicle Sherlock Holmes -- all which released well after the Canadian comedian's untimely death. Wagons East, one of Candy's final roles and a movie where he rocked a beard, isn't listed whatsoever.
"Ben Affleck broken glass" correctly lists Gone Girl as its first search result, showing off how powerful the AI's scene-analysis can be, though. But on the other hand, it isn't the only result: the laughable Devil written by M. Night Shyamalan is listed too -- a movie Affleck wasn't even in.It's still early days for the tech, however, and Valossa is quick to point out that the Alexa integration is still in beta.