BEIJING: Baidu-backed iQiyi, an online video streaming service, is using artificial intelligence to aid across a range of difficult, often creative, decisions. The recent success of a Chinese hip-hop show demonstrated how this technology can enhance human decision making at a high level.

iQiyi’s recent surprise success, Rap of China, garnered 2.68 billion views by the time the show ended on 10th September last year. Its format was similar to many talent shows: hopefuls auditioned in front of judges who decided who would move through the stages of the competition. Only in this version, hopefuls would freestyle rap at each other; judges would choose the winner.

However, according to a South China Morning Post report, which recounted how executives at Baidu had been unsure of the show’s potential, rap is a non-mainstream, niche genre.

When they consulted the company’s AI system, iQiyi Brain, the bot went the other way: it said yes. It also recommended certain celebrity judges.

To Tang Xing, CTO of iQiyi, the reason was clear. “Machines can make much better predictions on audience responses or casting decisions than humans because they keep track of what happens in the entire entertainment industry.”

According to the company, its AI allows it to predict the success of a movie or TV show six months to a year before release with a staggering accuracy: more than 80%.

“AI can be a great help in entertainment. It can tell you which ending will get more viewers, it can tell whether the script you are writing suit the taste of certain audience,” Tang added. “But it can never replace you in creativity and imagination.”

iQiyi is not alone in using advanced intelligent systems to predict the success of entertainment. Reportedly, 20th Century Fox has worked with IBM to create movie trailers. Netflix has long been known to use AI for recommendation, and is now considering using the technology for developing trailers.

Sourced from South China Morning Post, The Register; additional content by WARC staff